Mavericks vs. Timberwolves score: Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving combine for 63 points as Dallas takes WCF Game 1

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving combined for 63 points as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 108-105, in Game 1 of the 2024 Western Conference finals on Wednesday. Doncic had 15 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter as the fifth-seeded Mavs rallied for the win on the road. Irving scored 24 of his 30 points in the first half, and the Mavericks got the win despite shooting 24% (6 for 25) on 3-pointers.

The Timberwolves used a 13-1 run in the fourth quarter to take a 4-point lead with less than four minutes remaining, but Minnesota then went more than three minutes without scoring a point. Wolves star Anthony Edwards was limited to 19 points on 6-of-19 shooting. Edwards had 8 points in the first quarter and just 11 the rest of the game. Jaden McDaniels had 24 points to lead the Wolves and knocked down six of his nine 3-point attempts. The Wolves shot 18 for 49 from long range, attempting 24 more 3s than the Mavs.

Here are some key takeaways from the game:

Doncic steals the show late

Luka Doncic has not been consistent during this playoff run, in large part due to various injuries. But he showed up when it mattered the most in Game 1, and the Mavericks needed every bit of his greatness. Doncic finished with 33 points, six rebounds, eight assists and three steals. 

He did most of that damage in the fourth quarter, when he led multiple comebacks. Early in the frame, after the Mavericks fell down by five, Doncic led a 13-0 run in which he scored or assisted on 11 of the points. Then, after the Timberwolves had surged back ahead in the closing minutes to take a 4-point lead, Doncic stepped up again. He led the Mavs on a 10-3 run to close the game, including a dagger jumper with 49 seconds to play. 

Over his last three games, Doncic is averaging 31 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.7 assists. This is the Doncic that made First Team All-NBA and finished third in MVP voting. If the Mavericks want to win the series, they'll need this version of their star to stick around. 

Irving doesn't wait around

Kyrie Irving has had some incredible moments during the Mavericks' run to the Western Conference finals, but they've often come later in games. Entering Game 1, he was averaging just six points in the first half during the postseason, which ranked 56th among all players. 

He did not wait around on Wednesday. Just a few minutes in, he weaved his way into the paint, lofted in a tough fadeaway over Karl-Anthony Towns and never looked back. By the end of the first half, he had racked up 24 points to lead all scorers at the time. 

His most important stretch, and one that summed up the Mavericks' resilient effort, came in the closing seconds of the half. After Anthony Edwards buried a triple to put the Timberwolves up by eight, Irving ripped off a personal 5-0 run in a 20-second span, including an and-one at the buzzer to make it a 3-point game at the break. 

Timberwolves waste big nights from the supporting cast

Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns are the Timberwolves' 1-2 scoring punch, and together they've combined for 47.7 points per game in the playoffs. They don't really have a go-to third scorer, however, which is why their offensive attack can vary from night-to-night. 

When there's trouble, it's usually because Edwards and Towns don't get enough help. The opposite was true in Game 1. Jaden McDaniels and Kyle Anderson were on fire in the first quarter, and those two, along with Naz Reid, combined for 50 points on 19-of-32 shooting from the field. 

The Timberwolves are going to rue wasting that big night from the supporting cast, especially considering they had the lead in the final minutes. All they needed was a decent game from either Edwards or Towns, and they likely win. Instead, those two combined for 35 points on 36 shots. It goes without saying, but that's not good enough. 

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FINAL: Mavericks 108 -- Timberwolves 105

The Dallas Mavericks have stolen Game 1 of the Western Conference finals from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and now have a 1-0 lead and homecourt advantage. Despite trailing for most of the game, they put together a terrific fourth quarter to pull ahead late. 

Kyrie Irving put the team on his back in the first half with 24 points, including a crucial 5-0 run just before the break. Then, it was Luka Doncic's turn. He took over down the stretch, scoring 15 of his 33 points in the fourth to get his team over the hump. Irving finished with 30 of his own, as the two combined for 63 of the Mavericks' 108 points. 

The Timberwolves may rue wasting Jaden McDaniels' big night. He went off for 24 points on six 3-pointers, but was the only player to reach 20 points. Though Anthony Edwards nearly had a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, he was ineffective for large stretches and shot 6-of-16. 

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It's Luka time

Luka Doncic has ripped off a personal 7-0 run to put the Mavericks in front early in the third quarter. Once he starts cooking like this, there's really not much you can do. This hasn't been his most efficient night, but he's up to 25 points and seven assists for the game. 

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Third quarter: Timberwolves 83 -- Mavericks 82

Both teams largely held serve in the third quarter, and the Timberwolves enter the fourth with a one-point lead. Great game so far with some high-level play on both ends. Nothing highlighted that more than a sequence late in the third when Luka Doncic threw on outrageous full-court bounce pass to Josh Green, but Naz Reid came out of nowhere for a block, then hit a 3 on the other end. 

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Halftime: Timberwolves 62 -- Mavericks 59

A big swing at the end of the half, as Anthony Edwards hit a 3-pointer to put the Wolves up by eight, but Kyrie Irving responded with five points in 20 seconds, including an and-one to beat the buzzer that cut the deficit down to three. That sequence was a microcosm of this game, as the Wolves have been in control most of the way, but have not been able to pull away.

Jaden McDaniels has 19 points to lead the way for the Wolves, while Edwards has 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Kyrie Irving, meanwhile, has 24 points to lead all scorers, while Luka Doncic has added 14 points and five assists for the Mavericks. 

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Luka starting to heat up

There have been a few times in this game where the Wolves have created some separation, only for the Mavs to pull them right back. Luka Doncic is leading the way on this current Mavs run and is up to 14 points and three assists for the game. Doncic and Kyrie Irving now have 29 of the Mavs' 41 points. 

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First quarter: Timberwolves 33 -- Mavericks 27

The Timberwolves take a six-point lead at the end of the first quarter thanks in large part to some bonus offense from the likes of Jaden McDaniels and Kyle Anderson, who combined for 16 points. McDaniels was hot early, while Anderson scored seven straight late in the frame. 

On the other side, Kyrie Irving has done most of the damage for the Mavericks. He has a game-high 13 points on 6-of-9 from the field. 

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McDaniels off to a hot start

Jaden McDaniels is coming off the first back-to-back 20-point performances of his career in Games 6 and 7 against the Nuggets, and is well on his way to making it three in a row. He's knocked down two 3-pointers in the opening minutes against the Mavericks to get the Wolves out to an early lead. When McDaniels is giving them an offensive boost like this, the Wolves are very hard to beat. 

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How the Mavericks got here 📽️

Here's another hype video for Dallas fans. It starts off with Kyrie Irving talking at the podium and flows into a narration of highlight clips and a breakdown from the team's series win over the top-seeded Thunder. Next up: Game 1 with the Timberwolves.

May 22, 2024, 11:30 PM
May. 22, 2024, 7:30 pm EDT
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Edwards is ready to take flight 📽️

This Timberwolves roster was built to beat the Nuggets. Now they are four wins away from a possible appearance in the NBA Finals. A big reason for that is Anthony Edwards, the team's leading scorer in the playoffs. If Minnesota fans need any more reason to get fired up for the opener in the Western Conference finals, then check out this video:

May 22, 2024, 11:02 PM
May. 22, 2024, 7:02 pm EDT