Luka Doncic & Kyrie Irving Lead Mavs to Game 1 Victory

The Dallas Mavericks drew first blood in their Western Conference Finals matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves. After taking out the 1-seed Oklahoma City Thunder in six games, the Mavs enjoyed some extra rest as they waited for the conclusion of Minnesota and Denver’s seven-game battle.

Minnesota’s shocking comeback in Game 7 resulted in the franchise returning to the WCF for the first time since 2004. On Wednesday night, the Wolves let the game slip away and lost homecourt advantage in the process. Coach Chris Finch cited his team’s lack of composure as the reason why they lost Game 1, 108-105.

“No composure. We haven’t really closed quarters very well, closed halves very well over the last handful of games,” Finch said. “It cost us a game in the Denver series. It certainly had an impact on this game tonight, too. We’ve got to be better in clutch moments.”

While the Wolves only committed 10 total turnovers, five of their giveaways occurred in the fourth quarter. A 13-1 run in the middle of the fourth quarter gave the Wolves a four-point lead, but a run of sloppy play allowed Dallas to reclaim the lead for good.

“I think we haven’t been tested like this where we’ve had to trade basket to basket, late-game free throw situations or fouling situations, stuff that we have to be better at,” guard Mike Conley said. “But we’ll learn from it. I think each game we’ve learned a lot about ourselves, a lot we can get better at. Obviously, it’s going to be a long series, regardless of what happened tonight.”

For Dallas, winning Game 1 is a huge boon for the team. Under coach Jason Kidd, the Mavericks had been 0-5 in Game 1’s entering last night. Both Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving were sensational for Dallas in the win. Doncic scored 33 points — 15 of which came in the fourth quarter — and added eight assists and six rebounds, while Irving scored 30 points while shooting above 50% from the field.

“I just said to myself, ‘We got to win this game. I gotta be way better,'” Doncic said. “Because three quarters, I didn’t play good. So I just came into the fourth, got to my spots and lead the team to win.”

A victory in Game 2 would put Dallas in a great position with the series heading back to Texas, but Kidd understands it won’t be easy to win on Minnesota’s court again.

“This is new for us,” Kidd said. “We don’t win Game 1 normally, so we’ve got to go back and see how we did this. But we’ve got to understand what’s coming for Game 2.”