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On Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Minnesota Timberwolves to close out their three game road trip. The Mavericks could climb up the western conference standings very quickly as teams near the top of the conference struggle with their top superstars out with injuries. The Mavericks look to continue their momentum by securing a win here.
On Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Portland Trail Blazers in the season series finale, looking to avoid being swept. The Mavericks started this game with a slow start as it looked like the Trail Blazers were going to pull a season series sweep off by staying within range with the Mavericks leading 65-54 at halftime. Things would explode in the third quarter as the Mavericks erupted for a 19-0 run to begin the quarter, as a Luka Doncic 3-pointer gave the Mavericks a 76-54 lead. That would be all she wrote as the Mavericks very quickly turned it into a blowout by defeating the Trail Blazers 132-92. Luka Doncic erupted for 37 points as he made his first eight 3-point shots. Josh Richardson scored 21 points, Dorian Finney-Smith added 13 and Kristaps Porzingis 12 for the Mavericks to avoid being swept in the season series by the Trail Blazers. With the win the Mavericks record improved to 22-19 on the season, as they now in a roll at a crucial time in the season with the majority of teams suffering from their top players being out with injuries. The schedule gets much easier for the Mavericks as their next 5 games are with teams below .500% on the season to close out the month of March. It doesn’t look like the Mavericks will be “major players” in the trade market, with the Trade Deadline expiring tomorrow, as General Manager, Donnie Nelson, says “Don’t get your hopes up, boys. We like this young crew”.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are coming into this game by going 3-7 in their last 10 games. They are recently coming off a 112-103 loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday to see their record drop to 10-33 on the season. The Timberwolves are coming into this season with high hopes of trying to make the playoffs this season but with the injury bug surrounding the team and poor performances, they are much better off at acquiring a top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. The Timberwolves are currently last in the western conference and last in the entire league, as they’re in a good position to hopefully land Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State University which many project Cunningham to be the number one overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. This team is led by Karl-Anthony Towns as they look to generate some wins without blowing their chances to land the top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. The Timberwolves have found themselves a star with Anthony Edwards (the number one overall pick last season) as he’s been catching bodies near the rim by posterizing players with remarkable dunks. He could also win the NBA Rookie of the Year award if he finishes the season strong with LaMelo Ball (the favorite) out for the rest of the season after he sustained a broken wrist. We would see who actually gets the award as the season comes to an end. If the Timberwolves, don’t fumble with their draft plans then the future could very well be bright that might force you to wear sunglasses.
Coming into this game, the Mavericks won their last meeting with the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-122 on February 8th, 2021. The Mavericks previously won all their regular season series last season 3-0 against the Timberwolves for a sweep. If the Mavericks win this matchup, then the would clinch the season series against the Timberwolves. The Mavericks would play these Timberwolves one more time on the season that would be the last game of the season in May. Overall, the Mavericks hold the all-time series with a record of 72-51.
The Mavericks started this game by having Willie Cauley-Stein (Health and Safety Protocols) and Tyrell Terry (personal reasons) remain out still, other than that, the Mavericks are ready to go. As a result, the Mavericks went with Doncic, Richardson, Finney-Smith, Kleber and Porzingis as their starting five in this game. The first points in the game would belong to Ricky Rubio as he nailed a three pointer for the Timberwolves to get this game underway. The Mavericks wouldn’t get their first points until the 11:30 mark as Josh Richardson answered with a three pointer of his own to tie the game at 3-3. The Timberwolves would go on a 11-3 run to begin the quarter as their offense came out firing, that forced Rick Carlisle to call a timeout with 9:27 left in the quarter. The Mavericks better be careful to not sleep on these Timberwolves as this game looked like a “trap game” as they call it nowadays. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks got off to an awful start to this game as they only made one of their first five attempts taken thus far. The Timberwolves were hungry as they got off to a nice start by making four of their first seven attempts taken thus far. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Kristaps Porzingis but couldn’t convert as he missed a jump shot that kept the score at 11-3 with 9:11 left in the quarter. It was the “Anthony Edwards Show” as he continued to torture the Mavericks after making a jump shot to extend their lead to 16-3 with 8:34 left in the quarter. The Mavericks looked out of sync as they couldn’t get anything going on their offense. It looked like the “Monstars” came and took away the talents from the Mavericks players as they looked completely awful. Kristaps Porzingis would give the Mavericks just their second made basket with 6:57 left in the quarter to come within 16-9 of the Timberwolves. The Mavericks finally got things clicking on offense as they were able to generate a 10-2 run after Jalen Brunson nailed a jump shot to come within 18-13 of the Timberwolves with 6:10 left in the quarter. All of a sudden, the Mavericks came storming back from a 13-point deficit to make it a 1-point deficit after Kristaps Porzingis drilled two free-throws to come within 18-17 of the Timberwolves with 5:07 left in the quarter. It looked like the Mavericks tried Kristaps Porzingis “secret stuff” just like in Space Jam to come all the way back in the game. The Timberwolves would call a timeout with 4:01 left in the quarter as the Mavericks appeared to be inching closer to erasing their lead as the score saw 23–17 with the Timberwolves leading still. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks were shooting the ball a little bit better as they almost erased the Timberwolves lead completely. Coming out of the timeout, the Timberwolves turned to Karl-Anthony Towns as he was able to convert by nailing a tough layup to extend their lead to 25-17 with 3:49 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Timberwolves were able to hold onto their lead as they took a 33-30 lead into the second quarter. The game leading scorer after one quarter of play would belong to Karl-Anthony Towns as he scored 14 points for the Timberwolves. The Mavericks were led by Kristaps Porzingis as he scored 12 points. The Mavericks ended the first quarter by shooting 40.9% on 9-of-22 shooting from the field. The Mavericks were still searching for their first lead in game as this heads into the second quarter.
The second quarter would begin by having Tim Hardaway Jr nail a three pointer for the Mavericks to get this quarter underway. The Timberwolves wouldn’t get their first points in the quarter until the 11:26 mark as Naz Reid answered with a three pointer of his own to lead 36-33. The Mavericks were right there to take their first lead of the game but couldn’t generate some good possessions on offense as the Timberwolves took a 40-36 lead with 9:22 left in the quarter. Both teams would go on long scoring droughts as they couldn’t get things going on offense with great defense being played. The Timberwolves would call a timeout with 5:43 left in the quarter to give them a breather as they still led 44-39 in the quarter. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks only made three baskets in the quarter thus far. Coming out of the timeout, the Timberwolves turned to Jarred Vanderbilt but couldn’t convert as he lost the ball for a turnover that kept the score at 44-39 with 5:25 left in the quarter. The Mavericks finally had their first lead in the game after Tim Hardaway Jr drilled a three pointer to take a 48-46 lead with 3:51 left in the quarter as the comeback was completed. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks barely held onto their lead as they were able to take a 56-55 lead into halftime. The game leading scorer after two quarters of play would belong to Kristaps Porzingis and Karl-Anthony Towns as they both scored 17 points for their respective teams. Luka Doncic was massively struggling in the first half as he had just 5 points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field. The Mavericks had a much better quarter as they out-scored the Timberwolves 26-22 in the quarter. The Mavericks finished the first half shooting 37.5% on 18-of-48 shooting from the field.
Coming out of the half, the Timberwolves were able to get on the board first in the third quarter by having Karl-Anthony nail a hook shot to take the lead at 57-56. The Timberwolves were able to extend their lead to 60-56 after Karl-Anthony Towns drilled a three pointer with 9:22 left in the quarter as the Mavericks were still searching for their first points in the quarter. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 8:50 left in the quarter as the Timberwolves were on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 62-56. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks offense went quiet again as they couldn’t get out of bed to drill some shots. The Timberwolves jumped out for a quick start as they made three of their first seven attempts taken thus far. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Josh Richardson but couldn’t convert as he missed a jump shot that kept the score at 62-56 with 8:31 left in the quarter. Kristaps Porzingis was able to score the first points in the quarter for the Mavericks as he nailed a 30-foot three pointer with 8:08 left in the quarter to come within 62-59 of the Timberwolves. Somehow, someway, the Mavericks were able to get this game tied after Dorian Finney-Smith drilled a three pointer to tie the game at 62-62 with 7:23 left in the quarter. With 7:03 left in the quarter, the Timberwolves were over the foul limit as that greatly benefited the Mavericks, as with every foul the Timberwolves commit, that would send the Mavericks to the free-throw line. The Mavericks could use that to their advantage for the reminder of the quarter. The Timberwolves would call a timeout with 5:58 left in the quarter after the Mavericks offense woke up to take a 67-62 lead. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks were on a 11-0 run as they were able to generate some good offensive possessions to create some momentum in the game. The Timberwolves were struggling as their last made basket came at the 8:54 mark off a Jarred Vanderbilt slam dunk. Coming out of the timeout, the Timberwolves turned to Jaden McDaniels as he was able to convert on a three pointer to come within 67-65 of the Mavericks with 5:46 left in the quarter. Luka Doncic was able to drill a layup to extend the Mavericks lead to 71-65 with 4:34 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were playing some great defense in the quarter as Dorian Finney-Smith stole a pass to convert it for two points on offense to extend their lead to 75-65 with 3:04 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks created some separation as they were able to take a 88-73 lead into the fourth quarter. The game leading scorer after three quarters of play would belong to Kristaps Porzingis as he scored 29 points for the Mavericks. The Timberwolves were led by Karl-Anthony Towns as he scored 22 points. The Mavericks got their run that they desperately needed to have in order to separate themselves from the Timberwolves in the quarter to give themselves a more comfortable lead. Through three quarters of play, the Mavericks were shooting 42.5% on 31-of-73 shooting from the field. The Mavericks out-scored the Timberwolves 32-18 in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter would begin by having Juancho Hernangomez nail a free-throw for the Timberwolves to get this quarter underway. The Mavericks weren’t able to get their points in the quarter until the 11:30 mark by having Josh Richardson nail a three pointer to extend their lead to 91-74. Jalen Brunson would nail his 12th point in the game by hitting a difficult floating shot to extend the Mavericks lead to 93-76 with 10:27 left in the game. The Timberwolves would to generate some serious offense and limit the Mavericks chances on offense, if they want to have any chance at erasing the Mavericks lead. Anthony Edwards would score his 15th point after making a driving layup to come within 99-84 of the Mavericks with 8:42 left in the game. The Mavericks were able to reach the 100-point mark in the game by having Dwight Powell make a layup, that forced the Timberwolves to call a timeout with 7:44 left in the game with the Mavericks leading 101-84. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks were able to make five of their first ten attempts taken thus far in the quarter. The Timberwolves didn’t want to come out as they started this quarter ice cold as they only made three of their first six attempts taken thus far as that’s not going to be enough to comeback in the game. The Mavericks were in control as they had all the momentum in their favor for the reminder of the game, all they needed to do is play good defense and not blow this large lead. Coming out of the timeout, the Timberwolves turned to Karl-Anthony Towns but couldn’t convert as Dwight Powell was there to block the shot to keep the score at 101-84 with 7:27 left in the game. Luka Doncic was able to drill his first three pointer in the game (after making eight straight the previous game) to extend their lead to 108-86 with 5:41 left in the game. The Mavericks ultimately put this game away for good after having Luka Doncic nail another three pointer to extend their lead to 111-88 with 5:17 left in the game as the time and momentum was in the Mavericks favor. Unless, the Timberwolves went on a massive run with little time, the Mavericks were in good position to come out with a win. To add an exclamation point, Tyler Bey made a ridiculous alley-oop dunk from Trey Burke for the Mavericks to put the icing on the cake.
This team looked like it was caught in a “trap game” as the Timberwolves were giving the Mavericks everything they had as they led for the majority of the first half but the Mavericks generated enough offense to lead 56-55 at halftime. The Mavericks had enough of the games the Timberwolves were providing as they used a huge third quarter to create some separation. The shots started to fall for the Mavericks in the second half as the momentum went all to the Mavericks. This was a game the Mavericks had to have with the easiest part of their schedule hitting them right now.
In the end, it was the Dallas Mavericks defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 128-108. The Mavericks record would improve to 23-19 on the season as they have won four of their last six games. Luka Doncic had an off night as he finished the game with 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the field in the win, but had help from Kristaps Porzingis as he scored 29 points and 9 rebounds. The Timberwolves were led by the rookie, Anthony Edwards, as he finished with 29 points and 5 rebounds. Jalen Brunson finished with his 6th career double-double by posting 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Mavericks got good production from Dwight Powell as he would score a season-high 16 points. The Mavericks began the easiest part of their second half schedule with a much needed win and will look to add much more to it during this stretch.
The Mavericks will come back home to Dallas for the final time in March, to face the Indiana Pacers at the American Airlines Center on Friday.