NBA: Minnesota survives against Mavericks, pushes series to fifth game

The Timberwolves beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 thanks to their two stars, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns.

(AFP/VOZ MEDIA) Led by stars Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Tuesday, narrowing their deficit to 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals.

The Mavericks, who had their first opportunity to seal their ticket to the Finals against the Boston Celtics, were overwhelmed by a brilliant fourth quarter from the dominant Edwards (29 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists) and the Dominican-American Towns (25 points and 4 triples), who redeemed himself in a series in which till now he has underperformed.

Luka Doncic achieved a triple double of 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but Kyrie Irving, the other Mavericks star, experienced one of the worst nights of his playoff career with 16 points in a series of 6-18 shooting field.

The fifth game of the tie will be played on Thursday on the Timberwolves' court, who dream of the miracle of being the first franchise to come back from a 3-0 deficit in playoff history.

For now, Minnesota avoided the humiliation of being swept 4-0 as happened to the Indiana Pacers in the East Final against the Celtics, the best team in the regular season.

"We simply wanted to win a game to extend the series," stressed Edwards, the great revelation of these playoffs at just 22 years of age.

"I didn't want them to sweep us, especially here, on their court. They have never swept me, so I took it as something personal," stressed the charismatic shooting guard.

The success of Edwards and Towns, who scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half, neutralized the last comeback attempt led by Doncic, who scored an acrobatic triple with 13 seconds left after receiving a foul.

The Slovenian missed the additional free throw, granting the visitors their first victory.

"This match was my responsibility," a self-deprecating Doncic said afterward.

"We have to do better. They have won a game, we have to focus on the next one," stressed the Slovenian, who is pursuing the first Finals of his extraordinary career in the NBA.

The loss was also the first of Irving's career in a game in which his team could advance to the next round, after 14 straight victories in that type of game.

Irving assures that the Minnesota Timberwolves played this game as if it were "their Super Bowl"

With no margin for error, the Timberwolves appeared on Tuesday with a much more aggressive attitude than in the previous three games of the series, as Irving himself had anticipated a few hours before.

While exercising in the warm-up, the point guard said on camera that his rivals were preparing to play "their Super Bowl," while for them it was "a normal game."

Anthony Edwards, chosen for the new "Dream Team" that will compete in the Paris Olympic Games, confirmed the omen in a first quarter in which he found no defender to stop him.

The explosive guard scored 14 points in the opening period while Doncic added 8 in the first five minutes to set the pace against Irving's usual slow start (6 points at halftime).

The biggest advantage of a very close game came in that opening quarter with 24-12 in favor of Minnesota, which gave up that ground in the final stretch of the first half when Edwards and Towns had to sit out due to fouls.

After the break, which was tied at 49, Towns committed another attack foul that sent him to the bench with five personnel with 17 minutes still left.

As in most games in the series, the duel was decided in the final minutes, in which Towns drove the key drives with two three-pointers in a row before being fouled out.

Without his great partner and with the Mavs a three-pointer away, Edwards kept his cool to nail the decisive basket with a spectacular mid-range shot with 40 seconds remaining.

A new turnover by Irving and the missed free throw by Doncic postponed the Mavericks' ticket to their first Finals since the 2011 ring for now.