Doncic leads strong close by Mavericks for win over Wolves

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MINNEAPOLIS, May 23, (AP): Luka Doncic led a strong finish for the Dallas Mavericks, swishing crucial shots down the stretch, drawing a couple of fouls and even playing strong defense.
The Mavericks might not be the favorites in yet another series, but they stole home-court advantage from the Minnesota Timberwolves with this promising start.

Doncic had 15 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and Kyrie Irving scored 24 of his 30 in the first half to lift the Mavericks to a 108-105 victory over the Timberwolves in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Wednesday night.

Dallas had a 62-38 advantage in points in the paint to offset a 6-for-25 shooting performance from deep.
“We made important ones,” said Doncic, who scored seven straight points over 63 seconds early in the fourth quarter to fuel a 13-0 run by the Mavericks for a 97-89 lead.

The Mavericks trailed 102-98 after a 3-pointer by Anthony Edwards with 3:37 left, before an 8-0 run the Wolves didn’t stop until a tip-in with 10.5 seconds to go. For the first time in six tries under coach Jason Kidd, the Mavericks won the first game of a playoff series.

Jaden McDaniels had his third straight 20-plus-point game with 24 points for the Wolves, but Edwards – who earned his first All-Star selection before the game, on the second team – was stifled for 19 points in a team effort from the Mavericks. Karl-Anthony Towns needed a late burst to get to 16 points and finished 6 for 20 from the floor.

The star power in this series is strong, and for the first night at least the Mavericks got what they needed from their leading duo while the Wolves largely struggled to run the offense around theirs.
“Terrible offense down the stretch: bad shots, turnovers, no composure,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said. “We’ve got to be better in clutch moments.”

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