Mavericks Looking To Open WCF with Game 1 Win

Seth Curry #30 of the Dallas Mavericks dribbles the ball against Anthony Edwards #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves | Image by David Berding/Getty Images
Seth Curry #30 of the Dallas Mavericks dribbles the ball against Anthony Edwards #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves | Image by David Berding/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks will face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals as both teams look to get off to a hot start in an attempt to make the NBA Finals.

Dallas is coming off a six-game series against the number one seed Oklahoma City Thunder while the Timberwolves defeated the defending champion Denver Nuggets in a seven-game series in the second round.

The Mavericks have been led in this postseason by guard Luka Dončić, who is averaging a team-high 27.2 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 9.1 assists per game through 12 games during these playoffs.

Dončić’s running mate, guard Kyrie Irving, is second on the team in scoring during the playoffs, averaging 21.1 points while shooting 48.2% from the field and an incredible 44% from behind the three-point line during their first two series.

While the Mavericks have leaned heavily on their two superstars during the first two series, they will likely look to their role players to continue their impressive play.

The Mavericks have received key contributions from forwards PJ Washington, Derrick Jones Jr., and rookie center Dereck Lively II.

Washington finished the series against Oklahoma City averaging 17.7 points per game and shooting 46.6% from the three-point line, while Jones finished the series with three consecutive playoff career highs in points.

Lively, who was recently named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team, had a major impact on the Mavericks’ comeback win in Game 6 to end the series, totaling 10 points and seven rebounds in the fourth quarter alone.

Although the Mavericks had the toughest challenge of their playoff run against the Thunder, who finished the regular season with the fourth-best defensive rating in the league, the competitiveness will increase as they face the Timberwolves.

Minnesota enters the series with a league-leading 108.4 defensive rating from the regular season. It also held teams to just 46.1 points in the paint, the second-lowest number of any team in the league.

Dallas Head Coach Jason Kidd discussed the challenges coming into the series and said the Timberwolves are a “long” team that will force the Mavericks to work hard for points.

“This is a great test for us. It’s going to start in Minnesota, the first two are there so we gotta try to find a way to get a win,” he explained, per Sports Illustrated.

Kidd will look to get the Mavericks off to a better start against the Timberwolves than in the previous series. The team has been 0-5 in Game 1s since he became the head coach in 2021.

Dallas will look to steal home-court advantage from the Timberwolves by winning one of the first two games in Minnesota before the team travels back to American Airlines Center for Games 3 and 4.

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