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Published Time: 31.05.2024 - 09:14:36 Modified Time: 31.05.2024 - 09:14:36

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Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving disagreed on one thing after the Dallas Mavericks lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves in what could have been a series-clinching victory in the Western Conference Finals.

“I think that game’s on me,” Doncic said. “I just didn’t give enough energy.”

Irving thought otherwise.

“A lot of this is on me,” Irving said. “I had spurts, we had spurts, but I’ve got to put a full 48 minutes of a game together.”

On Thursday night in Minneapolis, the Mavericks and their top two stars will have a clean slate and another chance to advance. Dallas carries a 3-1 lead into Game 5 of the best-of-seven series and needs one more win to reach the NBA Finals.

The Mavericks have not been in the Finals since the 2010-11 season, when Dirk Nowitzki led the franchise to its first and only NBA championship.

Minnesota would love to derail Dallas’ dreams.

The Timberwolves fell into a 3-0 series deficit but stayed alive with a 105-100 win in Game 4 on Tuesday night. Anthony Edwards led the team with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and Karl-Anthony Towns scored 25 points with five boards.

The outcome marked Minnesota’s first win in the Western Conference finals since 2004 against the Los Angeles Lakers, who later advanced.

“It doesn’t,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “We’ve got to win again.”

The Timberwolves kept their season alive with a clutch road win in Dallas. Can they do it again at Target Center in Game 5?

To do so, the Timberwolves once again will turn to Edwards and Towns to lead the way.

Towns struggled in the first three games of the series, shooting 15-for-54 (27.8%) from the field and 3-for-22 (13.6%) from beyond the 3-point line. He became unstuck in Game 4 as he made 9 of 13 shots overall and 4 of 5 attempts from deep.

Finch praised Towns for his perseverance.

“Kat is a great player,” Finch said. “His struggles were not going to last forever. He got himself going. Even when he got deep in foul trouble, we left him out there. …

“Just let him roll. He played smart, played under control, rebounded really well for us, executed defensively. Really proud of him.”

For Dallas, Doncic is eager to bounce back from what he perceived as a lackluster performance, even if it resulted in a triple-double in Game 4. He finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but shot 7-for-21 from the field.

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