Timberwolves are Defeated by the Mavericks, Taking a 3-0 Series Lead

In the final five minutes of Sunday’s Game 3 of the Western Conference playoffs, the Mavericks were down two points. That indicated that the Minnesota Timberwolves were facing severe difficulties once more.

Dallas continued its streak of clutch domination en way to a 116-107 victory, driven by its superstar pair of Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic. Together, Doncic and Irving scored 33 points in the end, outscoring the Timberwolves by one point in the fourth quarter on 8 of 10 shots.

“Down the stretch, that’s where we make our money, man,” added Irving. “I believe we now possess that calmness, and we’re putting our skill sets—our depth—on display, which many teams find difficult to contain. You have to choose your poison, and several teams have to guard each of us.”

After Irving was acquired in a stunning trade last season, the Mavericks suffered immensely when it came to closing games. One of the main reasons the Mavericks fell out of the postseason picture and into the draft lottery was Dallas’s 6-15 record in games that were within five points in the final five minutes after the deal for Irving.

After some time to get to know one another, Doncic and Irving became a potent clutch combination this season. During the regular season, Dallas had the best clutch offense (127.1 points per 100 possessions) and the second-best clutch record (23-9) in the league.

Throughout the Mavericks’ ascent through the West playoffs, this success has persisted. This playoffs, Dallas is 6-2 in close games as the Mavs have scored 124.3 points per 100 possessions. The Mavericks have won their last four games after rallying in the closing minutes, starting with their decisive victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6.

With 3:38 left in the game, Irving, who had scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, found big P.J. Washington for a corner 3-pointer that put the Mavericks up for good. Throughout this series, he has scored the most points in the fourth quarter—31—of any player participating in the conference finals.

“Unbelievable. That’s why some people call him Mr. Fourth Quarter, right?” Doncic stated, who finished with 33 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals despite discomfort in his sprained right knee that had him marked as doubtful until after his pregame warmup, added, “Just amazing. He’s born for these situations. He’s born for the clutch situations, so we just get the ball to him.”

The only starting backcourt to score at least thirty points in the same game three times in a postseason in the previous fifty years is Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic.

With 27, Doncic is second in the conference finals in fourth-quarter points. Of course, his game-winning step-back three with 3.0 seconds left in Game 2 over four-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert was the highlight.

“I feel like we’re both born for this if you ask me, but it’s just basketball, man,” Irving stated. “You got to give the game what it needs at times.”

Coach Jason Kidd of the Mavericks stated, “I think when you talk about maturity, skillset, they fit,” “Ky’s been around the block. He’s been with great players. He doesn’t mind being second or 1B, and you just don’t find that a lot of times in this league. He will show what he needs to show, and he’s done that with Luka this season. He’s patient, he’s calm, his energy is in a positive place.

” … There’s a debate out there: Is this the best backcourt in NBA history? It’s kind of cool.”

That talk is premature, in Irving’s opinion, unless the Mavs win five more games this postseason.

“It doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win a ring together,” remarked Irving. “Right now, I want to show a lot of respect to the guys that have come before us and have actually did it. And our time will come.”

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