Dallas Mavericks Dominate Timberwolves in Game 5 To Advance to NBA Finals: 3 Game-Changing Plays

Luka Doncic started hot and the Mavericks never looked back. Now the Mavs are onto their first NBA Finals since 2011
May 30, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (9) during the second quarter in game five of the western conference finals for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
May 30, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (9) during the second quarter in game five of the western conference finals for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports / Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks are onto the NBA Finals with a Game 5 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. And this one wasn't even close. I can't be the only one who felt similar vibes as Game 7 of the 2022 Western Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Suns.

Luka Doncic came out the gates SCORCHING hot from the field. This is likely the earliest I've ever had a game-changing play in an article, but it's needed.

READ MORE: Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving Lead Dallas Mavericks to NBA Finals After Eliminating Timberwolves

He had a three on the left wing that felt 2022-ish, but it was this moment where it felt the game was going to be in Dallas' control the whole way.

Luka Doncic just couldn't miss. At one point, he was one pace for more than 80 points. He outscored the entire Timberwolves team 20-19 in the first quarter by himself.

This shot is just ridiculous though. Dallas was setting screens higher and higher as Minnesota wanted to pressure Luka as soon as he crossed half-court. Kyle Anderson makes the mistake of going under the screen and Luka pulls from Duluth and nails it. He'd go 8/10 from the field in the first quarter to Minnesota's 8/26.

READ MORE: Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic Named Western Conference Finals MVP

Doncic starting so strong forced Minnesota to over-adjust and panic any time he touched the basketball. Here, they run a double off of Kyrie Irving to double Doncic and Irving makes them pay with the fancy finish at the basket.

Irving started slowly, making just one of his first 5 shots. With this make to start it off, he'd make 13 of his next 22 shots on his way to 36 points. It's one thing for Doncic to start how he did, but getting Irving to play this strong next to him makes Dallas almost umbeatable.

Dallas took a 35-19 lead into the second quarter but it could've been a much larger lead had Derrick Jones Jr. connected on some layups and dunks that he usually makes.

READ MORE: Dallas Mavericks To Play Boston Celtics in 2024 NBA Finals

Even though Dallas entered halftime with a 29-point lead, anything is possible in basketball. Minnesota was down by 20 in Game 7 to the Nuggets and came back to win that one, so it was important for the Mavericks to start the second half with that same intensity. They couldn't have started the half any better than this.

Dallas starts with the double ball screen that they killed Minnesota with in Game 3 and P.J. Washington just saunters away from the play and then to the rim. Doncic sees him and throws a pinpoint alley-oop from near midcourt and they connect, extending the lead to 31 points.

Any doubt Dallas fans could've possibly had likely gone out the window there. Doncic and Irving were not going to let this lead go away and they didn't.

Dallas would lead by as much as 36 points and never saw the lead dip below 20 points in the entire second half on their way to winning 124-103.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving each finished with 36 points, the third game in this series where they each had 30+ points in a game. Doncic pitched in 10 rebounds while they each had 5 assists. Irving's veteran presence was felt throughout the game as he was constantly talking to his teammates to keep them focused, even as the lead continued to balloon.

P.J. Washington (12 points) and Daniel Gafford (10) were the only other Mavericks in double figures, but Gafford and Dereck Lively II, who returned from a neck sprain, have to be credited with their rim protection. Stan Van Gundy said during the broadcast that they've done a better job protecting the rim this series than Rudy Gobert who just won Defensive Player of the Year. They combined for 4 blocks in this game.

Dallas dominated from the 3-point line, hitting 15 of their 34 shots from deep, while Minnesota was just 10/32. The Mavericks also won the rebounding battle 52-47, a theme of the series.

Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns each had 28 points for Minnesota, but it paled in comparison to what Doncic and Irving were doing. They just couldn't get any help from anyone else on the team, as the next-highest Timberwolf had just 9 points. Kyle Anderson attempted nine field goals, four of them being threes. That's not a good game plan.

Dallas will get a week off before playing the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, music to Luka Doncic's knee and ankle, Dereck Lively II's neck, and Maxi Kleber's shoulder. Game 1 of the NBA Finals starts Thursday, June 6th, in Boston.

READ MORE: Boston Celtics Are Overwhelming Favorites in 2024 NBA Finals Over Dallas Mavericks

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Austin Veazey

AUSTIN VEAZEY

Austin Veazey joined NoleGameday as the Lead Basketball Writer in 2019, while contributing as a football writer, and started as editor for MavericksGameday in 2024. Veazey was a Florida State Men’s Basketball Manager from 2016-2019. Follow Austin on Twitter at @EasyVeazeyNG