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2 takeaways from the Dallas Mavericks loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 110-108

A late game push wasn’t enough to extend the Maverick win streak

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolves went to work early, as Karl Anthony-Towns is a destroyer of worlds. He didn’t miss the entire quarter. Yet the Mavericks found their footing at some point because Minnesota is depressingly bad. The Dallas bench unit, led by super-sub Salah Mejri, closed the gap throughout the quarter and the Wolves took a 32-27 lead into the second.

Dallas pressed continually, mainly through rookie Luka Doncic. After chipping away at the Minnesota lead, the Mavericks took command twice. But since not a single Dallas player could bother KAT, each team entered halftime with 58 points.

The third quarter saw the Wolves take a double digit lead, largely because Dallas could not buy a three point shot. With only three long ball makes through 36 minutes, the Mavericks trailed the Wolves by 10 entering the final frame.

Trey Burke finally ended the Maverick three point drought a few minutes into the fourth quarter to cut the lead to single digits. Dallas cut the lead to three half way through the period via Burke’s shooting and Powell’s rim running. Brunson cut the lead to one before a Wolves timeout. Powell found a cutting Mejri (what) for a dunk to tie the game but that lead lasted a possession with a Towns bucket. Merji tied the game again for basketball reasons.

With under three minutes remaining, Luka drilled a step back three to give Dallas a 104-101 lead. Andrew Wiggins tied the game with a driving And-1. Luka wasn’t to be denied, though, with a hanging drive to retake the lead. Towns answered right back with another jumper. With a tie game at 106 and under a minute left the Wolves took the lead on a Towns drive following a missed Luka three. Following the timeout, Dallas tied it again with a Brunson lay up. Josh Akogie found Andrew Wiggins for a lay up to retake the lead again with 19 seconds remaining. On the final play, Luka Doncic shook Akogie to the ground, stepped back for a three but saw the blitzing Tyus Jones from his left and flipped it to Brunson who missed the game winning three. Dallas falls 110-108.

Some stuff:

Hit a three, Mavericks

The good guys entered the fourth quarter a tremendously bad 3 of 26 from deep. They hit four in the final frame, while taking 13 total, so they finished 7 of 39 from three point range. It’s nearly impossible to win.

One day we’ll look back at this and marvel that Dallas played so many years without good shooters. It was a bad decision to let so many good shooters walk in the off season and the Mavericks have paid all year long.

Luka Doncic made the right play

I’m an obnoxious Luka-stan who wants the Slovenian Savior to take 35 shots a game. The thing about the final play (see above) is that it was the right one. Doncic’s been a mess from three point range since All-Star break and shot only 23% from distance. Brunson’s not been great (33% since the break), but he’s also not been as rough as Luka’s been.

After shaking Okogie to the ground and Jones coming from his left, passing to the wide open Brunson was the right basketball play.