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Dallas Mavericks take control of series vs. Minnesota Timberwolves with Game 3 win

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The Minnesota Timberwolves won’t win many games with Anthony Edwards and Anthony Karl-Anthony Towns shooting a combined 28.6% from the field in the first half of a Western Conference finals game.

The Timberwolves also won’t win many series with Edwards and Towns shooting a combined 33% from the field through three games.

That’s the situation in the West finals where the Dallas Mavericks took complete control of the series, beating the Timberwolves, 116-107, in Game 3 Sunday for a 3-0 series lead.

Trailing 104-102 with 5:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Mavs outscored the Timberwolves 12-1 for a 113-105 lead with 34.8 seconds to play.

No team in 154 scenarios has come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs and won a series.

The Mavs can complete a stunning sweep in Game 4 on Tuesday in Dallas (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT). In the East, Boston has a 3-0 series lead against Indiana, and the NBA Finals is headed for a Celtics-Mavericks showdown.

The Timberwolves that finished off Denver in the conference semifinals do not look like the same team on the edge of elimination against Dallas.

A combination of the Mavs and inexperience this deep in the playoffs have overwhelmed the Timberwolves, and they have been unable to stop Dallas stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

Doncic had his third 30-point game of the series, compiling 33 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Irving, who is enjoying a basketball revival with Dallas, scored 14 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter. Doncic and Irving become the first backcourt to each score at least 30 points in the same game three times in the playoffs in the past 50 years.

“It is the most talented backcourt in the history of the NBA,” TNT analyst Stan Van Gundy said.

Said Mavs coach Jason Kidd: “There’s a lot of trust when you talk about Ky and Luka. … Those two guys are winners. They want to win. They want to help the team. … My job is to inform them of what I see and try to put those guys in position to be successful.”

In the final five minutes of the fourth quarter, the Timberwolves missed eight of nine spots, including four 3-point attempts. “Terrible offense down the stretch. Bad shots. Turnovers. No composure,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch said.

Edwards had 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, and Towns finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. But they were a combined 16-for-42 (38.1%) from the field and 0-for-10 on 3-pointers.

Of concern to the Mavs is the health of rookie center Dereck Lively II who took a in advertent Karl-Anthony Towns knee to the head with 8:35 left in the second quarter. He did not return with what the team called a strained neck. Lively, the No. 12 pick in the 2023 draft and an all-rookie honoree, is 13-for-13 from the field in the conference finals, and the Timberwolves took advantage of his absence.

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