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NBA Playoffs: Irving and Doncic put the Mavericks one step away from the Finals

The Dallas team defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-107, taking a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference.

26 de mayo de 2024; Dallas, Texas, EE.UU.; El escolta de los Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (77) controla el balón contra el pívot de los Minnesota Timberwolves Rudy Gobert (27) en el segundo cuarto durante el tercer partido de las finales de la conferencia oeste de los playoffs de la NBA 2024 en el American Airlines Center.

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA / Cordon Press)

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staff(AFP/VOZ MEDIA) With another stellar performance from Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-107 on Sunday and establishing a 3-0 in the NBA Western Conference Finals.

The Mavericks thus put a foot and a half in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2011, since no franchise has let a 3-0 lead slip away in the history of the playoffs.

The Boston Celtics, the best team in the regular season, .

Doncic and Irving, both with 33 points, made the difference in the final stretch of a previously tied game at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The Slovenian star, who had already decided Friday's victory with a winning triple, also added 7 rebounds and 5 assists, as well as 5 steals that reflect the defensive effort he applies to the quest for his first Finals.

"We need one more," Doncic said in a call to avoid overconfidence. "They have an incredible team, so nothing is done."

At his side, Irving made several impossible baskets that undermined Minnesota's confidence in a final quarter in which he exploded with 14 points.

Anthony Edwards, the young figure from Minnesota, had his best night of the tie with 26 points and 9 assists but, with all the spotlight on him at 22 years old, he went out in the decisive quarter with only 4 points.

The Dominican-American Karl-Anthony Towns was shipwrecked again with 14 points in a series of 5-18 in field goals, including 0-8 in triples.

The Mavericks will have their first chance to qualify in Game 4 on Tuesday, again in Dallas.

After losing the first two games at home, the Timberwolves figures committed to showing a much more intense version in Dallas.

Edwards, a future member of the United States team at the Paris Olympics, warned that he was going to increase his aggressiveness on the court but his will collided at the start of the game with a solid defense from the Mavericks.

On the other hand, Doncic and Irving still did not give the Timberwolves any clue on how to stop the best offensive duo of these playoffs.

Between them they accounted for 29 of the home team's 60 points at halftime, in addition to five three-pointers, after a first half in which Dallas dominated placidly although the scoreboard only reflected an eight-point advantage (60-52).

The only negative note for the Mavericks was the second quarter injury to rookie center Dereck Lively, who had to leave the game after Towns accidentally hit him in the back of the head with his knee on an offensive rebound attempt.

Both the veteran Towns and the young Edwards were still off target at halftime, with just 17 points combined in a series of 6 of 21 from the field (29 percent).

Upon returning from the locker room, the guard kept his promise and scored eight consecutive points to bring Minnesota within two.

One of those actions was a fierce dunk over center Daniel Gafford that went straight to the collection of best plays of these playoffs.

Minnesota took full advantage of the absence of Lively, a 2.16m tall tower, in the paint and took the lead on the scoreboard with a jump shot by Towns at the end of the third quarter.

The excitement continued until the local stars imposed their talent with three minutes remaining.

With Edwards once again a victim of vertigo, two baskets by Doncic and Irving gave the Mavericks a six-point lead and Gafford placed a monumental block on Mike Conley to complete the celebration in Dallas, which is already approaching its first Finals since its only championship ring in 2011.