Mavericks advance to NBA Finals after dominant Game 5

Luka Doncic’s stellar scoring performance steers Dallas to an NBA Finals berth (yahoo.com)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Dallas Mavericks secured their spot in the NBA Finals with a commanding 124-103 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on May 31, 2024, winning the series 4-1.

This victory ends the Mavericks’ 13-year NBA Finals drought and marks them as one of only 10 teams ranked fourth or lower to reach the league’s grand stage.

As the fifth-seeded team in the Western Conference, the Mavericks had a challenging path, defeating higher-seeded teams like the Clippers and the Thunder before facing a strong Minnesota squad that had an impressive series win over the defending champions, the Denver Nuggets.

Despite the hype surrounding the Anthony Edwards-led Timberwolves, the duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving propelled the Mavericks to victory in just five games.

Minnesota, hopeful after avoiding a sweep with their Game 4 win, returned home seeking to regain momentum. However, Doncic and Irving quickly dashed those hopes with an offensive onslaught. Doncic scored 20 points in the first quarter alone, giving Dallas a commanding 35-19 lead.

Irving took over in the second quarter, hitting impressive step-back shots and driving to the rim, leaving Minnesota unable to adjust effectively.

The Mavericks extended their lead to as much as 36 points, reminiscent of their demolition of the Suns in the 2022 close-out game.

Though Minnesota’s starters, including Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, tried to mount a comeback, Dallas maintained a double-digit lead until the final buzzer.

Doncic and Irving combined for 72 points, each scoring 36.

PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford also contributed double-digit points for Dallas, with 12 and 11, respectively.

The Mavericks will have a week of rest before facing the Boston Celtics in the 2024 NBA Finals.

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