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Timberwolves to Knot Series in Low-Scoring Game 2 vs Mavs

In a postseason that has the NBA Western Conference finals being contested between the third and fifth seeds, it stands to reason that the series would begin with the road team winning. And that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday night as the Dallas Mavericks took Game 1 from the favored Minnesota Timberwolves to get the early edge in this battle for a spot in the NBA Finals. Now Minnesota has to bounce back in Game 2, which will tip off on Friday night.

 

Timberwolves to Knot Series in Low-Scoring Game 2 vs Mavs
Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks | David Berding/Getty Images/AFP

Dallas has already knocked off the fourth-seeded LA Clippers and top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in these playoffs, defying the NBA Finals odds heading into the postseason. What’s different about this series from those is that the Mavericks won Game 1, which they failed to do in those previous series.

The Timberwolves dropped a series opener for the first time this postseason and fell to 3-3 on their home floor in these playoffs. Minnesota has only been in the Western Conference finals one other time (2004), and that was the only other postseason in which the franchise has won a series.

Game Information

  • Game: Mavericks (1-0) vs Timberwolves (0-1)
  • Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET.
  • Day Game: Friday, May 24.
  • Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
  • Mavericks vs Timberwolves Live Stream: NBA Game Pass

 

Minnesota had the edge on Dallas in the regular season, winning three of the four matchups between the teams. The Mavericks came out on top in the only other time these teams have squared off in the postseason, sweeping a first-round series in 2002.

Despite its loss in the series opener, Minnesota is favored in Game 2, giving five points on the Las Vegas NBA odds. The Timberwolves are getting -205 on the moneyline for a straight-up victory while the Mavericks are listed at +172.

If you’re betting on the over/under for Game 2, you’ll get -110 odds on either side of the total, which has been set at 207 points.

 

 

Head-to-Head

Mavericks vs Timberwolves Odds and Spreads

  • Dallas is 8-4 ATS in its last 12 games.
  • Minnesota is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games played on a Friday.
  • The total has gone under in seven of the Timberwolves’ last 10 games against the Mavericks.
  • Dallas is 2-6 straight-up in its last eight games played on the road against Minnesota.
  • The Mavericks are 6-3 ATS in their last nine games played in May.

Atypical Fast Start for Mavericks

Heading into Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, Dallas had dropped the opener in 11 of its last 12 playoff series, including both this season. So for the Mavericks to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the series, and doing it the way they did, was not typical for this franchise.

Guard Kyrie Irving, who had been averaging just six points in the first half during the playoffs, erupted for 24 of his 30 points before halftime on Wednesday and then let his backcourt mate, Luka Doncic, finish things off. Doncic had 15 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter to rally the Mavericks to the 108-105 victory and the early lead in the Western Conference finals.

“He got us going. Without him, we would probably be down 20 at halftime,” Doncic said of Irving. “I had to help him in the second half a little bit. So we switched roles this time.”


The opener was close throughout, but Minnesota had a four-point lead with 3:37 to play before the Mavericks went on an 8-0 run to go out in front for good. Defense was just as important as the team’s offense in the opening win as Dallas was able to keep Anthony Edwards in check with 19 points.

No one panicked (down the stretch). There was just a lot of trust, no matter how bad or how good we’re playing,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said.

The Mavericks must continue to play the same way in Game 2. Minnesota will come out determined to tie the series up, so Dallas must be prepared. The Mavericks won the board battle in the opener, 48-40, led by rookie Dereck Lively II, who had nine points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

Timberwolves Fall Despite Balanced Attack

Minnesota got a great offensive performance from some unsung players in the series opener, but down the stretch, the team’s stars couldn’t come up with the big plays. The Timberwolves had six players in double figures in scoring, including a pair of reserves, but after taking a four-point lead with 3:37 to play on Edwards’ 3-pointer, they managed just three points the rest of the way.

Terrible offense down the stretch: bad shots, turnovers, no composure,”

Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said after the loss. “We’ve got to be better in clutch moments.”

Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns were a combined 0-for-3 down the stretch, and the Timberwolves committed multiple turnovers. The team was deflated a bit when Towns’ tip slam off a miss that would have tied the game with 1:41 to play was ruled offensive goaltending.

Edwards was gassed at the end of the game, not looking like the player that had averaged 27.7 points in the second-round series win over the Denver Nuggets. Edwards was 6-of-16 from the floor in the game, though he did add 11 rebounds, eight assists and two steals.

Like the Mavericks, however, the Timberwolves have to have their stars come up big down the stretch. That didn’t happen in Game 1.

The loss ruined some solid performances from forwards Jaden McDaniels, who hit six 3-pointers on the way to 24 points, and Kyle Anderson, who scored 11 points off the bench after finishing with 19 points in the entire Nuggets series.

“Jaden was the only one that came ready to play tonight,” Edwards said, “and I think everyone else let him down.”

Minnesota struggled at home in the Denver series, dropping two straight before winning Game 6 at home. It must come back with a much stronger effort on both ends of the floor, because it does not want to go back to Dallas down 0-2.

Take Timberwolves to Even Series

Minnesota is facing a must-win situation in Game 2 because it can’t count on getting multiple wins on the road against the Mavericks. That means the defensive effort will be much better, leading to another low-scoring game.

Dallas won’t make it easy, but we like the Timberwolves to have a bounce-back performance and even this series up. When doing your NBA betting on this contest, go with the under and the Minnesota to win and cover the five-point spread.
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Question of the Day

When was the last time the Timberwolves played in the Western Conference finals?


The only other time Minnesota has been in the Western Conference finals was 2004, when it lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.

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