NBA Finals: Doncic leads Mavericks to Game 1 victory over Timberwolves | basketball news

A team effort, led by Doncic’s 33 points, gives Dallas a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals against Minnesota.

Luka Doncic scored 33 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves to win 108-105 in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals in Minneapolis.

Kyrie Irving came out of the gate with 24 points in the first half to keep Dallas in contention. Doncic took over at halftime and helped the Mavericks win 108-105 with 15 of his 33 points coming in the fourth quarter Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

“Unbelievable,” Doncic said after the game. “(Kyrie) got us going. Without him, we’d probably be down by 20 points at halftime, so he got us going. So I had to help him a little bit in the second half.”

Irving finished with 30 points and made 12 of 23 shots for Dallas. Daniel Gafford (10 points, nine rebounds) and Dereck Lively II (nine points, 11 rebounds) nearly had double-doubles.

Jaden McDaniels scored 24 points and made 6 of 9 attempts from beyond the arc to lead the Timberwolves. Anthony Edwards finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and Karl-Anthony Towns scored 16.

The Mavericks, who shot 49.7 percent (43 of 87) from the field during the game, outscored Minnesota 26-22 in the fourth quarter to help secure the three-point victory.

Edwards said he and his teammates struggled to maintain their energy level for the entire 48 minutes. He acknowledged that the team’s comeback victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of the conference semifinals might have sapped some of his energy.

“Yeah, sure,” Edwards said. “You all can see it. We were one step behind everyone, especially me. Kyrie scored a layup in transition…and he just beat me. He was simply exhausted. So yeah, sure. But we will be fine.”

Dallas went on a 13-0 run to take a 97-89 lead with 7:38 left. Doncic started the streak with seven straight points and ended it with a pair of free throws.

Minnesota, which shot just 42.7 percent (38 of 89) from the field, responded with a 10-1 run to take a 99-98 lead with 4:39 left. Towns hit a 3-pointer from 28 feet to put the Timberwolves on top.

After a timeout, Edwards hit a three-pointer to increase Minnesota’s lead to 102-98 with 3:37 left.

The Mavericks responded with consecutive 3-pointers from Doncic and PJ Washington to take a 104-102 lead with 1:56 left. Doncic followed with a step-back jumper to make it 106-102 with 49.2 seconds left.

Dallas held the lead the rest of the way.

The teams will reconvene Friday night for Game 2.

“That’s just one,” Doncic said. “We have three more left.”

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