On Thursday night the Dallas Mavericks played the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first preseason game at the American Airlines Center since March 11th. The Mavericks are coming off a 128-112 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night looking remain undefeated in the preseason and continue momentum into the regular season.
On Monday, the Mavericks limited the Milwaukee Bucks to 36.4 percent from behind the 3-point arc in hopes of limiting the three ball from opposing teams. The Mavericks were coming into this game shooting 46.3 percent from the field.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were coming into this winless in the preseason and hope to finish the preseason on a positive note. This is a very important game for the Timberwolves as no team wants to finish the preseason without a win. The Timberwolves were very busy in the offseason making some roster adjustments that featured acquiring Ricky Rubio and drafting Anthony Edwards with the first pick in the 2020 NBA draft. Karl Anthony-Towns is coming off an emotional offseason that featured the lost of his mother battling Covid-19. Last season, the Timberwolves finished with a 19-45 record in the Covid-shortened season and hopes to improve this season.
The Mavericks started this game strong, building a early 10 point lead before the Timberwolves came storming back by hitting some corner threes. The Mavericks found themselves in early foul trouble that benefited the Timberwolves getting to the Free-Throw line. Anthony Edwards hit two big threes late in the quarter for the Timberwolves to give the Timberwolves a 37-33 lead in the first quarter.
The Timberwolves were able to stretch their lead to six points early in the second quarter before Rick Carlisle saw enough from the Mavericks bench and decided to put the starting five back on the court in hopes to garner some momentum. The move was deemed to be a very good one that saw Tim Hardaway Jr hit a three to give the Mavericks the lead. The Mavericks finished the quarter strong by hitting 7-9 from behind 3-point arc to erase the four point deficit from the first quarter. The Mavericks closed the first half by shooting 54.2 percent from behind the 3-point arc to take a 68-61 lead.
The game featured both teams attacking the paint before Tim Hardaway Jr hit a jumper from the top of the key to maintain the Mavericks lead. The Mavericks had a big third quarter that saw them go on a 12-0 run and out scored the Timberwolves 30-20 in the third quarter with Luka Doncic scoring 20 points through three quarters of play. The Mavericks were able to grab a fifteen point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Timberwolves came storming back going on a 14-2 run to tie the game late in the fourth quarter and erase the fifteen point lead the Mavericks had previously built. With 4.5 seconds left in the game, the Mavericks went with Tyrell Terry to try to keep the Mavericks undefeated in the preseason, however, Jarrett Culver was there to block the shot to send this game to overtime.
In the overtime period, the Timberwolves grabbed a six point lead, their first lead since the second quarter with the help of Jarrett Culver as the Timberwolves went on a 8-4 run. The Mavericks were able come within 1 point however the Timberwolves did just enough by hitting a late free-throw by Naz Reid with 6.9 seconds left. Boban Marjanovic tried a 26-foot three point jumper to give the Mavericks the lead that fell short. The Timberwolves were able to out score the Mavericks 15-13 in overtime.
In the end, the Mavericks fell 129-127 to the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime to suffer their first loss of the preseason. Give the Timberwolves some credit, this team fought hard and competed its way for their first win of the preseason with Jarrett Culver scoring 18 points, most of it coming in overtime. The Mavericks shot 42-99 (42.4%) from the field and 20-44 (45.5%) from behind the 3-point arc.
This team looks ready for the regular season, although the Mavericks bench struggled a little bit in the early stages of this game, they were able to bounce back quickly with a big effort from Maxi Kleber and Trey Burke. This game was all about the starters that saw four Maverick starters (Doncic, Richardson, Finney-Smith and Hardaway Jr) get into double figures combined for 64 points. Remember all of this is coming with Kristaps Porzingis rehabbing from his knee injury.
The Dallas Mavericks finished the preseason with a record of 2-1. We got an early glimpse of what these Mavericks will look like in the regular season. The Mavericks will get their regular season underway with a matchup with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, who just acquired Chris Paul in the offseason. The Suns are coming off a season that saw them finish 8-0 in the NBA bubble and fell just short of the “play-in” game to reach the playoffs. These Suns are young and they are hungry for a playoff spot in a loaded Western Conference. These Mavericks look good and they’re ready to make a deep playoff run this season. Let the regular season begin.