Mavericks ride 'Luka Magic' on both ends late to win Game 1

mavericks ride 'luka magic' on both ends late to win game 1

Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic

The Mavericks expect Luka Doncic to make big shots in the fourth quarter. His big defensive plays are just a bonus.

Doncic scored 15 of his 33 points in the final quarter – and added two steals in the final 2:02 – as Dallas took Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals from the Minnesota Timberwolves, 108-104.

After 46 minutes in which Minnesota's Jaden McDaniels scored 24 points with Doncic as his primary defender, the Mavericks superstar got a stop and a steal on the Wolves forward. Two passes later, P.J. Washington made a wide-open three-pointer to give Dallas a lead they wouldn't give up.

Dallas took the lead early in the fourth quarter when they went on a 13-0 run, largely due to Doncic. He scored nine points, assisted on a Derrick Jones Jr. basket and got a "Kobe assist" after Dereck Lively II got an easy putback off a Doncic miss.

Minnesota responded with a 13-1 run of their own, helped by a struggling Karl-Anthony Towns finally finding the range during a tough 6-for-20 shooting night.

But the shot that Towns and Wolves fans will be thinking about is one that didn't count. Mike Conley missed a three-pointer and Towns swooped in for what he thought was a game-tying dunk. But Towns grabbed the ball when it was above the cylinder, giving Dallas the ball on the offensive goaltending call.

Ultimately, it was too much Doncic for Minnesota. On the Timberwolves' next possession, Doncic broke up a Mike Conley lob pass. And in a game that saw Dallas shoot only 6-for-25 from three-point range, Doncic closed the lead to a single point with a three, one possession before Washington's big shot.

Kyrie Irving scored 24 in the first half. Doncic had 19 in the second half. That combination let the Mavericks steal home-court advantage.

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