Home » Luka Doncic helps Mavs take down Wolves in Game One of Western Conference finals

Luka Doncic helps Mavs take down Wolves in Game One of Western Conference finals

Luka Doncic

MINNEAPOLIS – From start to finish in Game 1, the Dallas Mavericks had the most impactful player on the floor. And “he” was actually two.

If you could fuse them together, there’s the answer — Kyrie Doncic took down the Timberwolves and assumed control of the Western Conference Finals.

The Mavs had Kyrie Irving flourish in the first half and Luka Doncic close it out in the fourth quarter. The Wolves couldn’t match that with any combination of players, in a game that was far from perfect by either team, but close until the end.

The last time the Mavericks won a Game 1 in any playoff series was three years ago in the first round against the Clippers. They were starved, therefore, because as coach Jason Kidd admitted: “This is something we don’t normally do.”

Well, better late than never. And it was on the road against a hot team.

Here are five takeaways from the Mavs’ 108-105 victory to open the series:

1. Kyrie sets the tone

With the majority of the Mavericks’ roster new to this, as in being this deep into the postseason, Dallas turned to its most experienced player in this situation.

Actually, Kyrie nominated himself.

“First time for some guys,” he said. “There were some nerves. I’ve been here before. There was a little bit more poise in my hands.”

While his teammates struggled to gain traction in the first half, Irving seized the chance to show leadership and performance. Scoring off the bounce and giving the Wolves’ top-rated defense fits by snaking through double-teams, Kyrie scored 24 of his 30 points in the half. Without that, Doncic said Dallas was done.

“Without him, we probably would’ve been down 20 at halftime,” Luka said.

2. Luka shows why Minnesota has double trouble

The task at hand for the Timberwolves is troubling — how do you stop Kyrie and Luka from doing damage? Because that could ultimately decide which team advances to the NBA Finals.

In Game 1, the Wolves had nothing against Kyrie in the first half and crumbled against Luka in the fourth quarter. Luka was the best player on the floor when it truly counted — repeatedly coming up with all the big plays in a tense and tight finish.

He had 15 of his 33 points in the quarter, punishing the Wolves on stepbacks, by reaching his sweet spots on the floor and essentially doing in that quarter what Kyrie did in the first half. Kyrie went scoreless in the fourth, so there was no choice.

“I just said to myself that we’ve got to win this game, and I’ve got to play better,” Luka said. “I didn’t for three quarters.”

Source – Timberwolves-Mavs: 5 takeaways as Luka Doncic takes over late in Game 1 win |