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Mavericks’ Big 3 Carry Team to 2-1 Series Lead

Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks | Image by Dallas Mavericks/Facebook

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-101 in Game 3 of the second round of the NBA Playoffs on Saturday, giving them a 2-1 series lead as the team begins preparations for Game 4.

Dallas was led by forward PJ Washington, with guards Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic also making meaningful contributions on both ends of the floor.

Washington finished the game with 27 points and pulled down six rebounds while shooting 11-23 from the field and making 5-12 shots from behind the three-point line.

Speaking after the game, Washington said he was happy to do anything to help the team win, and for now, that means making his open shots.

“So, for me, just take them with confidence. I’ve been working on them. I’ve been waiting to get here my whole career. I’m enjoying every second of it,” he said, according to the NBA.

Washington’s scoring punch has been crucial for the Mavericks so far in these playoffs as the team has a 4-2 record in games in which he scored more than 20 points.

The team also got significant help from Irving and Doncic, who each scored 22 points and were able to make their presence felt during the entire game.

Irving made 10 of his 17 field goal attempts as he continued his trend of efficient shooting in the playoffs. He has shot 50.7% from the field in the playoffs while making an incredible 44.3% from behind the three-point line.

Another trend has been Irving’s ability to get hot in the second half of games. He once again lit up the Thunder’s defense in the back half of the game.

Irving racked up 14 of his 22 points in the second half of Game 3. The NBA veteran has averaged 21.3 points in the second portion of home games during these playoffs.

These second-half explosions have been necessary for the team as Doncic continues to battle through various injuries he has accrued throughout these playoffs.

Doncic took multiple hard falls throughout Game 3. The 25-year-old fell early in the game, hitting his face on the ground after tripping on Thunder forward Luguentz Dort just a few minutes into the game.

Doncic and Dort collided again later in the game as the two jumped up for a ball and each fell to the ground. Doncic said after the game that “everything” in his body is currently hurt, per ESPN.

Although these injuries have seemingly hurt Doncic’s scoring ability, as he shot just 7-17 from the field in Game 3 and is shooting just 41% from the field in these playoffs, he has helped the team in many other ways during these games.

He managed to pull down 15 rebounds during Game 3, which helped the Mavericks outrebound the Thunder 48-41, while also setting up his teammates to the tune of five assists.

Doncic said after the game that he was proud of the team for winning a competitive game but also noted that “it’s going to be hard” to close this series out and continue their journey for an NBA Championship.

“We didn’t do anything yet. We won two games, and we need to win four. We’re just going to keep going,” he said.

Dallas will now look to win another game at home to extend its series lead. The two teams are scheduled to face off in Game 4 on Monday at 8:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center.

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