Mavericks blowout Timberwolves by 21, advance to NBA Finals

Written by: William Petersen

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The Dallas Mavericks are going to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2011 after blowing out the Minnesota Timberwolves by 21 in a game that was not close from the start. Newly crowned Western Conference Finals MVP Luka Doncic came to play in Game 5 after torching the Timberwolves in the first half dropping 25 points, 20 of which came in the first quarter. Doncic’s stellar offensive night was matched by backcourt companion Kyrie Irving who finished with 36 points on 14-27 shooting, fed off of Doncic’s efficiency and helped Dallas lead 69-40 at halftime. Irving and Doncic combined for 44 points in a first half that Minnesota would like to forget after coming out flat in an elimination game, unable to match the shot making and physicality that the Mavericks brought early. Luka and Kyrie continued their efficient shooting in the second half, finishing with 72 combined points. Doncic finished with 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists, shooting 14-22 and 6-10 from beyond the arc, a couple of those from the Timberwolves logo. Dallas now faces the number one team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics, in a series that they once again will start on the road.

After blowing a closeout opportunity at home in Game 4, Luka Doncic vowed that he would play better after shooting 7-21 and 4-11 for three. Doncic did just that after setting the tone early with his shot making and aggressive mindset that was unmatched by Minnesota. The backcourt dynamic of Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic is undoubtedly the best backcourt scoring duo in the NBA and will be the focal point of Boston’s defensive gameplan in the NBA Finals. It is difficult to stop a team with a tandem that scores over 60 combined points when they are on, and Dallas has found their stride at the best time. These two stars will have a tough time making the same impact against a Celtics squad who has immense depth in their backcourt, numerous two way guards that can impact the game in multiple facets. Dallas has had an incredible run and should be proud after coming into the playoffs as a six seed. If Dallas is going to win their second title in franchise history they are going to have to limit their turnovers and continue to get production from Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford. Their presence in the paint and ability to dominate the glass against Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert was an x factor that broke the back of the Timberwolves. Dallas now has a week to rest and get right for a final series that could put them into NBA immortality.

A disappointing and quite frankly embarrassing end to the Timberwolves season can be summed up by a lack of intensity and flat start from a Timberwolves squad that was very confident after their Game 4 win in Dallas. Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns both had 28 points but could not match the shot making of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving early enough to have those 28 points mean anything. Edwards hit four threes but KAT shot 9-20 in another lackluster shooting performance in this series and a nail in the coffin of the Timberwolves hopes of going to their first NBA Finals in franchise history. The Timberwolves roster as whole did not shoot the ball well, with only Edwards and Towns scoring in double figures and Minnesota will now go into the offseason trying to figure out why they could not close out games and extend this series against Dallas. Anthony Edwards will only continue to improve but we will see how the Timberwolves manage this offseason as they will be paying a lot of money to Edwards, Towns, and Rudy Gobert who will all be making at least 35 million dollars in the 2024-25 season.