Mavericks Erase 17-Point Thunder Lead, Advance to Western Conference Finals

May 18, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA;  Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts.
May 18, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

For the third time in the last eight months, a Dallas sports team is within a series win of its league's biggest stage.

The Dallas Mavericks overcame a 17-point deficit Saturday evening to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 117-116 in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals—a win that sent the Mavericks to their second Western Conference finals in three years.

The hero for Dallas was forward P.J. Washington, who hit two free throws with 2.1 seconds left to give the Mavericks a one-point lead. Washington then intentionally missed a third, and the Thunder's final possession quickly disintegrated.

Guard Luka Dončić was his usual excellent self, scoring 29 points, pulling down 10 rebounds and giving out 10 assists in a triple-double. Guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City with 36 points, but it wasn't enough.

Dallas's return to the conference finals—a series it lost to the Golden State Warriors in 2022 by four games to one—follows the Texas Rangers' World Series title in 2023 and the Dallas Stars' series-clinching victory in their Western Conference semifinal matchup with the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.

The Mavericks will play the winner of Sunday's Game 7 between the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Patrick Andres


Patrick Andres has been a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated since 2022. Before SI, his work appeared in The Blade, Athlon Sports, Fear the Sword, and Diamond Digest. Patrick has covered everything from zero-attendance Big Ten basketball to a seven-overtime college football game. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.