Timberwolves, Mavericks meet at Target Center

Tap here for in-game box score and play-by-play

The Timberwolves and Mavericks are meeting tonight in Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference finals at Target Center. Staff writer Chris Hine provides this live report:

9:20 p.m.: Teams trading punches, but neither can take control in the third

The Wolves defense has struggled to combat the Dallas offense most of the night, but the Wolves clung to an 83-82 lead entering the fourth quarter despite allowing 32 Mavericks points in the third.

The Wolves opened the third with some extra eyes and defenders on Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, and that led to some easy buckets at the rim for Mavericks center Daniel Gafford, who scored Dallas’ first six points of the quarter. The Wolves’ three-point shooting, which was 44% in the first half, cooled off in the third. They shot just 2-for-12.

The only saving grace for the Wolves defense is Dallas is just 3-for-19 from three-point range for the game. The Mavericks are 32-for-48 inside the arc. Irving had just two points in the quarter while Doncic is up to 18.

Anthony Edwards can’t quite get going offensively for the Wolves as he had 13 points on 4-for-12 shooting. Eight of his shot attempts came from three-point range (he hit three). Neither team pulled away from the other all quarter, as the lead changed hands a few teams always stayed within a couple possessions. The Wolves led 77-73 with 5:45 left in the quarter. After that, the game was within one possession either way.

8:32 p.m.: Irving has 24 points as Mavericks trail by three at the half

Behind 19 points from Jaden McDaniels, the Wolves led the Mavericks 62-59 at halftime. But they can’t slow down Kyrie Irving, who scored 24 first-half points on 11-for-14 shooting.

McDaniels is 7-for-10 from the field and hit 5-for-6 from three-point range, while the Wolves also got a scoring boost from Kyle Anderson, who had 11 first-half points. This is the most points Anderson has scored all postseason.

Anthony Edwards had 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists. But Irving spoiled the fun for the Wolves, who led by as many as nine at a few junctures in the half. Irving closed the quarter with five consecutive points, three of those coming after Edwards threw away the Wolves’ chance at having the final shot of the half up six. That was just one of four turnovers the Wolves had.

Luka Doncic had 14 points for the Mavericks in the first half. McDaniels and Anderson were a combined 12-for-17; the rest of the Wolves were 10-for-28.

The Wolves rebuilt a nine-point lead at 41-32, but like the first quarter, Dallas responded once it went down nine. Doncic attacked Edwards for a pair of buckets in the run, and Dereck Lively got loose for a dunk. The Wolves called a timeout after a 9-2 Mavericks run. The Wolves maintained a small lead throughout the quarter. Dallas doubled up the Wolves on points in the paint (44-22).

8 p.m.: Wolves take 33-27 lead after one quarter

The Wolves got some scoring from their role players as they led 33-27 after one quarter.

Anthony Edwards had eight points for the Wolves, but they received some key contributions from Jaden McDaniels and Kyle Anderson.

McDaniels got them going early after he had consecutive 20-point plus games to close out the series against Denver. McDaniels, who was guarding Luke Doncic on the other end of the floor, had three early three-pointers to put the Wolves up 15-8. The Mavericks opened the game 0-for-4 from three-point range, and no one outside of Doncic and Kyrie Irving scored a bucket in the first 7 minutes, 24 seconds of the game.

The Wolves led 21-12 after an Anthony Edwards three, but Dallas responded from there with an 11-0 run. Irving was hard for the Wolves to contain, and he scored 13 in the quarter. The run began with a four-point possession for the Mavericks when P.J. Washington hit a three and Rudy Gobert fouled Dereck Lively battling for position inside. Lively hit the free throw.

But then Kyle Anderson, who hasn’t scored much this postseason, had seven straight points for the Wolves, who answered with a 10-2 burst to close the quarter after falling behind 25-23. Anderson’s seven points included a three-pointer, his first of the postseason.

7 p.m.: Edwards makes All-NBA team

Wolves guard Anthony Edwards was chosen for the All-NBA second team after his second All-Star berth. It’s his first all-league honor. Here’s a look at the teams and the effect Edwards’ selection will have on his contract and the team’s salary cap.

Shootaround: McDaniels lauded, but who will guard Kyrie?

On Tuesday, Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels earned his first All-Defensive Team accolades as he was voted to the league’s second team.

McDaniels’ dogged perimeter defense has been the perfect complement to Rudy Gobert on the interior and is one of the main reasons the Wolves had the No. 1 defense in the NBA this season.

McDaniels is no stranger to guarding some of the best players in the league, and that includes Dallas guard Luka Doncic, who will be his likely sparring partner for a lot of the Western Conference finals.

At shootaround Game 1, Doncic was asked to name his top three perimeter defenders in the league, and he named Oklahoma City’s Lu Dort, Boston’s Jrue Holiday and his Dallas teammate Derrick Jones.

Then he quickly issued an addendum to his statement to include McDaniels.

“He can guard one through five, for sure, he’s a great defender,” Doncic said. “When you asked about the top three, I forgot about McDaniels. Some people will be [mad] if I don’t include him. He’s definitely top three. He has been incredible, he has long hands, he’s locked in, and he’s going to be tough to go against.”

Wolves guard Anthony Edwards said after the win over Denver in Game 7 that he would be guarding Kyrie Irving, but the reality is the Wolves are likely to use a rotating case of Edwards, McDaniels, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kyle Anderson (on Doncic) at times in the series.

Edwards, who has played some of the best on ball defense of his career throughout the playoffs, received four second-team votes for the all-defense team, 62 votes behind McDaniels. When asked what he thought about getting those four votes, he said, “Only four?”


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