Mavericks vs. Timberwolves Game 3 Preview: 3 things as Dallas looks to put Minnesota on the brink

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks return to Texas as conquering heroes and with a 2-0 collection lead; two video games on the highway received by a complete margin of 4 factors. After Denver and Minnesota took turns exchanging blowouts, this collection has been a “you obtain the entire seat however you’ll solely want the sting of it” continuous thrill journey.

Taking the 2-0 lead is a large accomplishment for certain, however there’s no sense that it is a workforce that’s going to relaxation on their laurels. With out tempering the post-game celebration an excessive amount of, Coach Jason Kidd reminded his workforce that they’d simply stolen two video games on the highway – Minnesota was little doubt going to attempt to do the identical. The Mavs needs to be driving excessive, however there’s work to be achieved in Dallas.

Take command

Of their earlier two collection, with a 2-1 collection lead, the Mavericks had alternatives in sport 4 to take a commanding collection lead. It doesn’t take superior stats to inform you being up 3-1 is a world aside from being tangled up with two wins apiece. Nonetheless, after a 31-point comeback towards the Clippers, and regardless of main almost your entire sport towards the Thunder, Dallas wasn’t in a position to clinch both of these sport fours. It’s a bit of stunning contemplating Dallas has usually seemed like the very best closing groups in these playoffs, in a position to lean on Doncic and Kyrie Irving within the clutch to deliver residence the win.

Now, up 2-0, the Mavericks have one other shot at placing the opponent on the brink. They deserve huge credit score for a way resilient they’ve been, by no means shedding back-to-back video games this postseason, bouncing again sturdy from that pair of game-four losses. Nevertheless it’d be good to see this workforce assert their will and put themselves in an overwhelmingly dominant place. Not that the job is completed at 3-0, however a bigger margin for error is all the time welcome. (Plus, to not look forward, but it surely doesn’t look like the Pacers are going to offer rather more than nominal resistance to Boston’s path to the finals, particularly if Tyrese Haliburton is out for sport three.)

No notes, stick with it

Dallas’ defensive observe report speaks for itself in these playoffs (except you’re a nationwide NBA speaking head who simply thinks Dallas’ opponents simply maintain lacking photographs). Particularly, they’ve made scoring within the paint a nightmare for opposing groups all playoffs. That has held true towards Minnesota, even with Rudy Gobert down low and Anthony Edwards making an attempt to assault the rim.

Within the first spherical, Edwards was scoring 30% of his factors within the paint. Within the subsequent spherical, towards Denver, the quantity jumped to only north of 43% of his factors. Towards Dallas, Ant is scoring simply 15% of his factors within the paint.

With Dallas’ concerted effort to shut down the paint and restricted areas to any and all opposing gamers, groups have been extra reliant on leap photographs and three-pointers. Edwards, who has by his personal admission been gassed on the finish of video games, has needed to rely extra on on his exterior shot to place factors on the board. Drained legs and lengthy jumpers simply don’t combine. Minnesota’s scoring output has fallen precipitously in every of the primary two video games the longer they performed, usually fortunate to cross the 20-point mark within the fourth.

The Mavericks’ protection is physique blows all sport lengthy. They should proceed to put on groups down, guard the paint with their lives, and dwell with the occasional scorching sport by the Naz Reid’s of the world.

All out blitz

After a sport the place Doncic had a 32-point triple-double and shot over 45% from three, it’s not a wild expectation that Minnesota will attempt to do all they’ll to restrict Doncic; even when it means giving up attractiveness for different gamers.

After a collection the place P.J. Washington and Derrick Jones Jr. took turns lighting it up from deep, each have been a bit of quieter on the offensive facet this collection. In two video games, Washington is simply 2-of-12 from deep whereas Jones Jr. is 0-for-5.

These two are too essential to Dallas’ protection to be out of the sport for lengthy, however after they’re not pulling down photographs, it forces Coach Kidd to seek for a spark from another person off the bench. In sport two, he was biking by way of Jaden Hardy, Tim Hardaway Jr, and Dante Exum throughout a second quarter the place the Wolves have been constructing their 18-point lead, hoping one in all them would offer some pushback on the scoreboard. The rotations are just a bit simpler to pilot if he can rely on some offense from one in all his beginning wings.

Washington and DJJ are each due for a scorching capturing sport, and if Minnesota decides to promote out to cease Doncic in any respect prices, the photographs will likely be there for them. They only must knock ‘em down.


You’ll be able to broadcast or stream the sport on TNT at 7:00 p.m. CDT.