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On Monday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Minnesota Timberwolves in their first game at the American Airlines Center with fans since March 11th, 2020 as they welcomed frontline workers to the arena for free. The Mavericks are looking to win back-to-back home game for the first time since the first few days of 2021. After having the toughest schedule, the Mavericks can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
On Saturday, the Mavericks played the Golden State Warriors in their final game of the two-game series. The game started off slow but boy did it catch on fire in the second half. This game quickly turned into a slugfest as all hail broke loose once the second half started. The Mavericks were leading for most of the game until the Warriors finally caught up with them as they eventually took their first lead of the game in the third quarter. Warriors guard, Stephen Curry exploded in this game as he caught fire shooting threes, eventually making 11 of them in the game. This was a back-and-forth duel between Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic, looking to see which one of them came on top. In the end it eventually was Luka Doncic coming on top as he scored a career-high tying 42 points to help the Mavericks win 134-132 over the Warriors. The Mavericks were able to overcome Stephen Curry as he scored 57 points in one of the best performances in his career. Tim Hardaway Jr would get the “Defensive Play of the Game Belt” in the win. With the win, the Mavericks record improve to 10-14 on the season as the remain in the western conference playoff chase. The Mavericks were able to snap their six game losing streak at the American Airlines Center.
The Timberwolves were coming into this game struggling as they have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games. They are recently coming off a close 120-118 loss on Saturday to the Oklahoma City Thunder as their record dropped to 6-17 on the season. Coming into this season for the Timberwolves, they were hoping that this season would be better as last season rewarded them with the number one overall in the NBA draft that resulted in selecting Anthony Edwards. They are looking to salvage their season in anyway they can as they remain fairly young with all the talent they currently have. If their season continues with this trend, they will be looking at another top pick in the upcoming NBA draft.
Coming into this game, the Mavericks swept the Timberwolves last season by going 3-0. The Mavericks have won five of the six meetings after the Timberwolves took the previous five. The Mavericks have gone 35-15 in its last 50 matchups against the Timberwolves. Overall, the Mavericks hold the all-time series with a record of 71-51.
The Mavericks started this game with the same lineup as last game that featured Dorian Finney-Smith and Josh Richardson in the starting five. The Timberwolves were without Jarrett Culver and Karl Anthony-Town due to injuries and health and safety protocols. The first made basket in the game would belong to Kristaps Porzingis, draining a three pointer with 11:41 left in the first quarter as this game gets underway. The Timberwolves would answer as D’Angelo Russell nailed a 27-foot three pointer to even the game at 3-3. Kristaps Porzingis started this game on a roll as he would score seven of the nine points the Mavericks had in the first couple of minutes in the quarter. Despite missing their key players, the Timberwolves were keeping up with the Mavericks pace as they only trailed 11-9 with 8:26 left in the quarter. When you’re hot, you’re hot, Kristaps Porzingis would continue his hot shooting by making a three pointer from the logo to give him 10 points already and a 14-9 lead for the Mavericks. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 7:14 left in the quarter as the Timberwolves were matching up with the Mavericks and would eventually tie the game at 14-14 by having Josh Okogie drain a two-point shot. The only player contributing for the Mavericks was Kristaps Porzingis and thankfully so otherwise they would easily be trailing in the game as these Timberwolves came to play. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Jalen Brunson but couldn’t convert as they dealt with being late in the shot clock. The game was untied by Dorian Finney-Smith for the Mavericks, as he made the bucket while being fouled and would finish off the “three-point play” by hitting the free-throw to take a 17-14 lead. The three ball was working for the Mavericks in the quarter as Tim Hardaway Jr would hit one to extend the lead 20-14 with 5:27 left in the quarter. The Timberwolves saw that and would answer by having Jaden McDaniels drain one to cut within three points. The Mavericks were letting it fly in this quarter as they were shooting with tremendous confidence as Kristaps Porzingis would hit another three pointer to extend their lead to 23-17. The Timberwolves would call a timeout with 4:35 left in the quarter as a result of the Mavericks hot shooting as they found themselves trailing 25-19. Coming out of the timeout, the Timberwolves turned to Jaden McDaniels as he would attempt a three pointer but couldn’t convert. After a Timberwolves turnover, Tim Hardaway Jr picked up the ball and quickly approached the other basket for an easy layup to give the Mavericks a ten point lead. In the final minutes of the first quarter, the Mavericks were able to hold onto their lead to take a 43-22 lead into the second quarter. Kristaps Porzingis started this first quarter hot as he would make five of his first six shots and ended the quarter scoring 15 points to lead the game. The Mavericks were clearly the “leader of the Wolfpack” as they maintained control of the first quarter. The three ball was working for the Mavericks as they shot 50% on six of 12 shooting. The Timberwolves, however, were completely cold as the “Wolves” didn’t want to come out of their cave as they only made eight baskets on 20 attempts for 40% shooting from the field.
The Timberwolves started this second quarter like they did in the first, cold like a blizzard as they would miss on their shots until Jaylen Nowell would give them their first made basket in the second quarter with 10:07 left. The Mavericks were doing the Timberwolves a huge favor by sending them to the free-throw line as they were struggling to make shots in the quarter. The Mavericks quickly found themselves in foul trouble as they put the Timberwolves in the bonus with 10:22 left. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 10:07 left in the quarter to tell the Mavericks to stop fouling as they still hold a 45-28 lead. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Luka Doncic as he would draw a foul to send him to the free-throw line where he would convert on one of them to extend their lead to 46-28 in the quarter. The Timberwolves were trying to find a way to maintain in this game and one way to do it was to go to the free-throw line as Jaylen Nowell would do just that and would drain all three of his free-throws but the Mavericks were still in front 46-31. The Mavericks were first to hit the 50-point mark as Luka Doncic found Dwight Powell for an easy alley-oop. A missed dunk attempt by the Timberwolves would occur and as a result, the Mavericks found Trey Burke for a 23-foot three pointer to extend their lead to 53-34. The Timberwolves would call a timeout as a result with 7:22 left in the quarter as they only made three baskets out of seven attempts taken in the quarter. Coming out of the timeout, the Timberwolves turned to Jaylen Nowell as he would drive to the basket while being fouled by Kristaps Porzingis and would convert on the “three-point play” by nailing the free-throw as they made the score 53-37. These Mavericks continue to give the Timberwolves easy points as they were allowing them to head to the free-throw line, which Anthony Edwards did and would drain both of them to make it 56-39 with 5:39 left in the quarter. A blocked shot by the Mavericks’ defense would result in Tim Hardway Jr finding Josh Richardson for the alley-oop on offense to extend their lead to 58-39. If the Mavericks could simply just stop fouling the Timberwolves to send them to the free-throw line, this game would be “eaten up” by the Mavericks. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were well in control of this game as they took a 71-51 lead into the third quarter. 10 of the 29 Timberwolves points in the second quarter came from the free-throw line as the Mavericks were just being “nice” to give the Timberwolves some “free” points. The leading scorer in the game, through two quarters, would belong to Tim Hardaway Jr as he had 18 points coming off the bench. Kristaps Porzingis was right there with Hardaway Jr as he had 17 points on six of 10 shooting from the field. The Mavericks were getting anything they wanted as the Timberwolves didn’t want to play defense which allowed the Mavericks to shoot 59.1% through two quarters of play. The Timberwolves leading scorer would belong to Jaylen Nowell as he had 14 points on four of six shooting from the field. The Mavericks were clearly not afraid of some “wolves” as they thought they would be nice to have as a pet as they were able to remain in control of this game.
Coming out of the half, the Timberwolves found out that D’Angelo Russell would miss the rest of the game due to an injury. The first points in the second half belonged to Maxi Kleber as he would make a layup to extend their lead to 73-51. A bad pass by Kristaps Porzingis would lead to Malik Beasley making a 15-foot jump shot for the Timberwolves to make it 73-53 with 10:58 left in the quarter. A sloppy possession by the Mavericks’ offense would result in Anthony Edwards hitting a 24-foot three pointer which forced Rick Carlisle to call timeout with 9:11 left in the quarter as the Mavericks lead shrunk to 73-58. The Timberwolves started the third quarter a little bit better as they made three of their first seven shots taken while the Mavericks struggled by only hitting one shot on five attempts. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Luka Doncic but couldn’t convert as he lost the ball and the ball would go out of bounds. A 26-point lead quickly turned into a 12 point lead for the Mavericks as Josh Okogie made a three pointer for the Timberwolves to make it 73-61. A Luka Doncic turnover resulted in the Mavericks fouling Malik Beasley to prevent the fast break to send him to the free-throw line but would only convert on one of them to make it 76-62. The Mavericks were looking for any type of offense and got it as Luka Doncic would nail a six-foot shot to erase any Timberwolves threat as the score resulted 78-62 in the Mavericks favor. The Mavericks lead would increase to 20 points as a result of Dorian Finney-Smith making a layup to make it 82-62 with 6:10 left in the quarter. The Timberwolves finally approached the 70-point mark with Rick Rubio nailing a three pointer to give them 71 points while the Mavericks were close to breaking 90 points in the game with 3:21 left in the third quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were able to finish by staying in front of the Timberwolves 95-77 as this game would go to the fourth quarter. The game leading scorer after three quarters of play would belong to Tim Hardaway Jr as he had 24 points off the bench. The Timberwolves were able to hit a couple of shots as Jaylen Nowell would lead the way as he had 16 points for the team.
The Mavericks started this fourth quarter by quickly going to Dwight Powell as he would make a slam dunk to extend their lead back to 20 points with 11:48 left in the game. On the following possession, Jake Layman would give the Timberwolves their first points in this quarter by nailing a two-point shot as they try to do anything to make this a game. The Timberwolves kept the good start to the fourth quarter by having Anthony Edwards nail a 24-foot step back shot to come within 99-82 of the Mavericks as they remained perfect in this quarter. The Timberwolves finally missed their first shot in the quarter with 10:46 left in the game and as a result Luka Doncic drilled a 26-foot three pointer to extend their lead to 105-82 as the Mavericks approached the 100-point mark. The Timberwolves would call a timeout with 10:22 left in this game as this game would be slowly slipping away from them due time on the clock as they trailed 105-82. Coming out of the timeout, the Timberwolves turned to Naz Reid but couldn’t convert by missing a 6-foot shot. The Mavericks offense would go quiet as they saw their shots not going in the hoop and as a result, Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 8:00 minutes left in game as they remained out in front 107-89. The Mavericks only hit three shots out of nine attempts in the quarter that would force the timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Kristaps Porzingis as he nailed a wide open three pointer to give him 25 points in the game and also resulted in the Mavericks leading 110-92. The Timberwolves all of sudden made it a 12 point game as Juancho Hernangomez nailed a three pointer to make it 110-98 which prompted Rick Carlisle to take a timeout with 6:06 left in the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Luka Doncic but he would turn the ball over on a bad pass as the Timberwolves were now in the rear view mirror of the Mavericks. The Timberwolves would go on a 11-0 run as they were to come within 10 points as a result of Jarred Vanderbilt making a 1-foot shot to make it 110-100. Luka Doncic would snap the Timberwolves run as he nailed a 4-foot shot to extend the lead to 12 points with 5:23 left in the game. The Timberwolves would use one of their timeouts on a “coach’s challenge” with 4:25 left in the game to review a offensive foul call on Juancho Hernangomez as the officials ruled it was charge. After the review, the ruling would be overturned as the officials would change the call to a Tim Hardaway Jr blocking foul that would send Hernangomez to the free-throw line which resulted in him missing both to keep it at 114-103 in favor of the Mavericks. The Timberwolves would call a timeout with 3:06 left in the game after a goaltending call would be called on Jarred Vanderbilt that would give the Mavericks two points to extend their lead to 118-106. Coming out of the timeout, the Timberwolves turned to Malik Beasley as he was fouled by Kristaps Porzingis that would send him to the free-throw line which resulted in him making both of them to make it a 10-point game with 3:06 left in the game. The Mavericks would answer as they themselves would head to the free-throw line as a result of Luka Doncic making a layup while being fouled which he would convert to finish the “three-point play” to extend their lead to 121-108. The Timberwolves made it a five point game as the Mavericks offense completely collapsed which resulted in a 8-0 run that prompted Rick Carlisle to take a timeout with 1:18 left in the game as the Mavericks saw their lead become a 123-118 lead. The Mavericks struggles of closing out games would happen again as they let the Timberwolves back in this game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Luka Doncic but he would turn the ball over which resulted in the Timberwolves making a basket to make it a three point game with 50.8 seconds left as all of sudden the Mavericks were in panic mode. Josh Richardson would give the Mavericks a huge break as he would nail a 10-foot shoot to extend their lead to 125-120 as the Timberwolves would call a timeout with 27.5 seconds left in the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Timberwolves turned to Malik Beasley but couldn’t convert on the 25-foot three pointer and they were forced to play the “foul game” as they would send Josh Richardson to the free-throw line with 15.4 seconds left which he nailed both of his free-throws to make it 127-120.
This team looked like they wanted to put on a show for the fans at the American Airlines Center and they did by getting off to a tremendous start in the game. They were hungry to put out a performance in front of these fans because the fans waited so long to come see this team play. Once, the Mavericks were in front in this game, they never looked back as they ran away from this game until the final minutes of the game as the Timberwolves gave them a little scare. For those that attended this game, hope you guys liked the Mavericks performance. I know you guys are eager to watch this team play at the American Airlines Center and we are almost there as it won’t be too long until you see yourself sitting in the arena with some popcorn or a hamburger.
In the end, it was the Dallas Mavericks defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-122 as they now won back-to-back games. The Mavericks record would improve to 11-14 on the season. Luka Doncic finished with 26 points and 8 rebounds but it was Kristaps Porzingis leading the team in scoring as he posted 27 points while adding 13 rebounds. The Timberwolves were led by Malik Beasley as he finished with 30 points to lead the game in scoring but it wasn’t enough for a victory. The Mavericks have now won back-to-back home games at the American Airlines Center for just the second time in the year of 2021.
The Mavericks will welcome back the Atlanta Hawks at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday as they beat them 122-116 in Atlanta earlier this month.
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