WWA Sports >MMA Arena >Luka Doncic takes over in first quarter, Mavericks go on to rout Timberwolves, advance to NBA Finals - NBC Sports

Luka Doncic takes over in first quarter, Mavericks go on to rout Timberwolves, advance to NBA Finals - NBC Sports

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Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Five

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - MAY 30: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals at Target Center on May 30, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

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Minnesota had the No. 1 defense in the NBA this season and made the Western Conference Finals on the back of it.

Luka Doncic torched that D in the first quarter Thursday night, ripping the hearts out of the Timberwolves and their fans.

Kyrie Irving came to life as the night wore on and stomped on that heart, finishing with 36 points (the same number as Doncic).

Luka Doncic & Kyrie Irving put on impeccable Game 5 performances, combining for 72 PTS as the @dallasmavs advance to the NBA Finals!Luka: 36 PTS | 10 REB | 6 3PMKyrie: 36 PTS | 5 AST | 4 3PMGame 1 of #NBAFinals presented by @YouTubeTV is Thursday, 6/6 at 8:30pm/et on ABC! pic.twitter.com/2njO9yiiW9

— NBA (@NBA) May 31, 2024

After stepping up in Game 4, Minnesota took a step back on Thursday night and looked off all game.

“The game kinda slipped away from us in the first quarter when we missed a lot of easy stuff, went one-on-one too early, just kinda got busted out of any kind of offensive structure,” Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said. “Then we couldn’t get stops and that was the game.”

The result was a 124-103 thrashing the Mavericks handed the Timberwolves to take the series 4-1 — with Dallas winning all three games played in Minnesota.

The Mavericks advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in the Doncic era, and will face the Celtics starting June 6 in Boston.

Finals!!! Let’s go!

— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) May 31, 2024

This win and that late Finals start date means Doncic gets a week off to rest his ailing knee and ankle. He can do that while holding the Western Conference Finals MVP trophy, which he won.

Thursday night’s Game 5 followed a pattern: The Timberwolves brought the ball up the court, got into their sets late, and had to run multiple actions to get a tightly contested shot with three seconds left on the shot clock. Then, the Mavericks grabbed the rebound, pushed to the other end, and got a good look within the first 12 seconds.

“Luka came out and set the tone offensively and defensively,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “I thought he let everyone know he was ready to play. I thought we followed his lead.”

It was a rough night for the home fans almost from the start because of Doncic.

After one quarter, the score was Luka Doncic 20, Minnesota 19. Doncic scored 20 of the first 30 Mavericks points (on 8-of-10 shooting), and he led the 17-1 run to end the first quarter and have Dallas up 35-19.

20 FIRST-QUARTER POINTS FOR LUKA 🔥 pic.twitter.com/vyion4EOpa

— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 31, 2024

The only thing that changed in the second quarter was that Irving got into the mix, and by halftime it was Irving/Doncic 44, Minnesota 40. However, once the rest of the Mavericks were added, it was 69-40 Dallas and a rout. The rest of the game felt like garbage time.

Dereck Lively returned from missing one game with a sprained neck and provided a spark of energy — and a scary moment when Naz Reid hit him in the back of the head, the same spot KAT had kneed him in Game 3. Reid got a Flagrant 1 and Lively stayed in the game, finishing with nine points and 8 rebounds.

P.J. Washington scored a dozen for Dallas, while Daniel Gafford had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Minnesota got 28 points each from Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, but no other players scored in double figures for the Timberwolves.

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