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Timberwolves, Mavericks meet at Target Center


Timberwolves, Mavericks meet at Target Center

The Timberwolves and Mavericks are playing tonight at Target Center in Game 2 of their Western Conference finals playoff series. Dallas won Wednesday’s opening game. Staff writer Chris Hine provides live updates:

Follow along on Gameview for up-to-the-minute stats and play-by-play.

9:22 p.m.: The big lead is gone as Wolves holding on …

Luka Doncic took over the game in the third quarter and the Wolves offense went stale as Dallas cut the Wolves’ one-large lead to 86-79 at the end of three quarters. The Wolves led by as many as 18 points in the first half.

Doncic had 11 points and three assists as the Mavericks offense turned it up a notch coming out of the locker room. Dallas had a 21-7 run that cut into the Wolves lead, and while they didn’t come all the way back, they created some nervous energy in Target Center, especially as the Wolves offense was stuck.

Minnesota shot just 7-for-21 in the quarter as Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards each shot 4-for-15 through three.

They each have 15, but Naz Reid has 15 for the Wolves on just seven shots. He made all five of his threes in the first 36 minutes. Reid hit a three just before the buzzer to push the lead back seven.

Dallas was able to get baskets around the rim in the third, as both Dereck Lively and Daniel Gafford found success there. They had 10 points on a combined 9-for-11.

8:35 p.m.: Wolves lead by as much as 18, take control at halftime

The Wolves led by as many as 18 multiple times in the second quarter, but they couldn’t extend it from there and allowed Dallas to cut it to 12 by halftime, 60-48.

The Wolves allowed Anthony Edwards a little extra rest at the beginning of the second quarter thanks to some shotmaking from Mike Conley and Naz Reid.

Reid was on fire in the first half and had 12 points on 4-for-4 from the three-point line while Conley was 5-for-8 in the first half for 12 points, a total that included a pair of threes. The Wolves were on 17-6 that spanned the late first and early second quarter to push their lead into double digits for the first time in the night. Edwards got to rest for the first five minutes in the second quarter instead of coming in after about three minutes, as he has done several times this postseason.

When he checked back in, he hit a three to put the Wolves lead up to 55-37. The Wolves defense was able to limit Dallas to just 38 percent from the floor. Kyrie Irving, who had a dazzling first half in Game 1, was just 2-for-8. But Dallas used six straight points toward the end of the quarter to cut the Wolves lead to 12. Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns each shot 3-for-11 from the field in the first half.

8:01 p.m.: Ant attacks early, KAT in foul trouble after one

Anthony Edwards pledged he would have a more energetic performance in Game 2 after not having much energy in Game 1. Even as Edwards struggled to shoot from the field, he still had 10 points as he led the Wolves to a 32-26 lead after one quarter.

He began the night by attacking the rim early, not something the Wolves did with frequency on Wednesday. He was just 2-for-7 from the floor, but he was 5-for-6 from the free-throw line.

The Wolves also wanted to have a more focused team, but just 34 seconds into the game, they had to burn a timeout after nobody came back to join point guard Mike Conley for the inbound pass. Dallas had also scored on an easy lob from Luka Doncic to Daniel Gafford on the first possession of the night. The Wolves recovered from there the rest of the quarter.

Doncic got off to a hot start for the Mavericks with nine first-quarter points. The Wolves again lost Karl-Anthony Towns to early foul trouble as he picked up two fouls on one possession with 7:178 to play after a 1-for-5 start to the night.

Naz Red came in off the bench to score six points as the Wolves shot 10-for-24 from the floor. They did most of their damage in transition with nine fast-break points.

Pregame, 6:04 p.m.: Wolves hoping for better energy level

The Timberwolves are 3-3 this postseason at home and, if you go back two seasons to include previous playoff runs, the Wolves are 5-6 at home.

In the previous series against Denver, coach Chris Finch said the distractions of being at home, where family and friends can have a bigger impact on the players’ day-to-day lives, might have been one reason for the Wolves’ struggles.

Ahead of Game 2 against Dallas, Rudy Gobert said players have to set boundaries when it comes to their time and energy.

“We got to find ways to be better,” Gobert said. “I think sometimes at home you have more noise, more distractions. Everyone wants to be a part of that. That’s what I was trying to tell the guys. Boundaries and tell your people that you’re trying to accomplish something. When it’s done, if we have to celebrate, celebrate. Now, we got to recover, have peace of mind.”

Gobert even said he is sacrificing time with his newborn son to enable himself to work and recover as much as he needs.

Some players on the team, like Anthony Edwards, were complaining about the team’s energy level after Game 1, that they didn’t quite have the same type of jump they had late in the Denver series.

“He admitted the other night that he was tired,” Finch said. “He’s entitled to have a game like that once in a while.”

When asked if the team was feeling better, Gobert said: “Game 1 is behind us. We didn’t play the way we know we can play. Tonight is a new opportunity for us to be better at both ends.”

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