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Mavericks 110, Wolves 108: Duel in Big D Comes up a Couple Shots Short

A rough middle stretch pared down to a well-executed fourth quarter gave a playoff atmosphere in a game that came down to the final possession in Dallas.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Lede

Patrick Beverley lifted himself off the ground and found twine on a corner three with just three seconds left in the game to tie it with the Mavericks at 110 and seal himself as the hero of of a critical seeding game for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference.

At least, that’s what we all wanted to think. The reality?

Luka Doncic tapped his arm for the intentional foul on his way up for the shot, putting him at the line with just a couple seconds to go, the game out of reach by then. That play was the latter of two identical ones from Beverley in getting intentionally fouled on a three. The first one he didn’t but could have potentially been fouled in the act of shooting.

Finch re-affirmed that sentiment in his postgame press conference.

That shouldn’t take away from what Beverley was able to do tonight. Make no mistake, it felt like playoff basketball. Closeouts the perimeter were quick and decisive, and paint play was incredibly physical. Oh, and Beverley, along with Anthony Edwards, played immaculate defense on Luka Doncic, held to 15 points on 29% shooting.

Early Intensity (or lack thereof)

The Wolves came out shooting the ball hot in the first quarter but sputtered in the second and early in the third, and had a harder time finding the offense. Jim Pete pointed it out perfectly on the broadcast. Going into half, it felt like the Mavericks had way more intensity defensively, and the Wolves were not matching it. They threw bodies at KAT in the post, collapsed hard on Anthony Edwards in the paint, which forced him to take some haphazard shots early before finding his rhythm late, and forced D’Angelo Russell into tough looks after an early hot start.

Another interesting thing to note? While the Wolves were getting out-hustled early, they ended up grabbing 15 offensive boards to Dallas’ 7, yet converting three less second-chance points (Mavericks had 16 to Minnesota’s 13).

A three-point difference off of an eight-rebound difference...ouch. This would have been a game the Timberwolves could have used Jaden McDaniels on both ends of the floor.

Patrick Beverley - that’s the heading

His box score didn’t stand out, and he missed a couple critical free throws...but he was far and away the best player wearing a Timberwolves jersey tonight. An absolute masterclass on defense.

Not many words here, just a couple things to enjoy.

Up Next

It doesn’t get easier, but this should be one of the more fun weeks of Timberwolves basketball we’ve seen in a very long time. It starts with the out-of-this-world Suns on Wednesday and concludes with a date in Boston Sunday.

Execution down the stretch was excellent tonight for the Wolves. If the rest of this patch in the schedule follows a similar pattern to tonight, brighter days, and after tonight, spots in the standings could be ahead.