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Mavericks-Timberwolves: Schedule, how to watch, predictions & analysis


in 2 regular-season games against Minnesota this season, Luka Doncic averaged 36.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 10.5 assists.

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Consider this series a rarity, given Game 1 marks just the second postseason series between these teams. The last playoff matchup between these clubs came in the opening round of the 2002 playoffs, when a 57-win Dallas squad defeated Minnesota 3-0 before falling in the next round to Sacramento.

Interestingly, two years later, Minnesota advanced to its only appearance in the conference finals.

Superstars Luka Doncic and Anthony Edwards have faced off 10 times in the regular season with each player coming away with five wins. The Timberwolves finished 3-1 against Dallas during the 2023-24 regular season, but Doncic missed two of those games while Kyrie Irving sat out three.

Series schedule

Here’s how to watch the Mavericks vs. Timberwolves series:

All times Eastern Standard Time

Game 1: Mavericks vs. Timberwolves, Wednesday, May 22 (8:30 p.m., TNT)Game 2: Mavericks vs. Timberwolves, Friday, May 24 (8:30 p.m., TNT)Game 3: Timberwolves vs. Mavericks, Sunday, May 26 (8:00 p.m, TNT)Game 4: Timberwolves vs. Mavericks, Tuesday, May 28 (8:30 p.m, TNT)Game 5: Mavericks vs. Timberwolves, Thursday, May 30 (8:30 p.m, TNT) *Game 6: Timberwolves vs. Mavericks, Saturday, June 1 (8:30 p.m, TNT) *Game 7: Mavericks vs. Timberwolves, Monday, June 3 (8:30 p.m, TNT) *

* = If necessary

Top storyline

Naturally, all eyes immediately focus on young superstars Doncic and Edwards. Why not? The Mavericks guard finished third in voting for Kia MVP, while Edwards received the seventh-most votes for the award. Expect both players to generate plenty of eye-popping plays in this matchup. Doncic averages 24.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.4 steals in clashes with Edwards.

The Timberwolves star produces similar numbers in head-to-head battles against Doncic (23.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.7 apg, 1.1 spg), the NBA’s leading scorer this season. It’s expected Edwards will guard Doncic’s co-star Kyrie Irving (a difficult challenge), while Jaden McDaniels starts on Doncic.

Keep your eyes on

The new matchups on both sides. Minnesota won the regular-season series, 3-1. But those games were before Dallas brought in Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington at the trade deadline. That changes how these teams will match up. Expect rookie Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford to take turns on Rudy Gobert, while Washington likely draws the Karl-Anthony Towns assignment. Doncic should guard Mike Conley with Derrick Jones Jr. taking Edwards.

1 more thing to watch for each team

For Mavericks: Minnesota owns a reputation for suffocating defense, but don’t sleep on what Dallas has done in that department since the end of the regular season. The Mavericks rank sixth in postseason defensive rating (110.6), just two spots behind the Timberwolves (107.6) and a major reason for the team’s overall success on that end is Doncic’s participation.

For Timberwolves: Dallas dominated the paint against the smaller Oklahoma City Thunder in the last round. But Minnesota’s bigs — Gobert, Towns and Kia NBA Sixth Man of the Year Naz Reid — present a more daunting challenge. The Mavs have secured at least 14 offensive rebounds in four games so far in the playoffs. Look for Minnesota to limit those precious second-chance scoring opportunities in this series.

Key number to know

19.4 — Over their 11 playoff games, the Wolves have been 19.4 points per 100 possessions better in the second half (plus-18.4) than they’ve been in the first half (minus-1.0). They’ve trailed seven of the 11 games at halftime, but have won four of those seven, with the highlight being their comeback from 20 points down early in the third quarter of Game 7 in Denver on Sunday.

The half-to-half difference has been almost entirely about offense. The Wolves have had the playoffs’ 11th-ranked first-half offense (106.7 points scored per 100 possessions) and its top-ranked second-half offense (125.8 scored per 100). Led by Jaden McDaniels (43.3% vs. 77.0%) and Mike Conley (38.3% vs. 70.5%), five of their top eight guys have significant differentials in their effective field goal percentage before halftime vs. after halftime.

The Mavs have also been much better after halftime (plus-9.7 per 100) than in the first and second quarters (minus-3.0), with that difference also being more about offense than defense. But in the four regular-season meetings, the Wolves were a plus-24.7 per 100 (with Dallas scoring less than a point per possession) after halftime.

— John Schuhmann

The pick

Mavericks in seven. It feels like Minnesota’s time, but that’s the same vibe emanating from Dallas, which is playing in the conference finals for the second time in three seasons. As skilled as Irving and Doncic are, they also possess the experience on this stage that Minnesota lacks. Edwards will undoubtedly put together some electrifying performances. But can he do it for a grueling seven games in consecutive series? Dallas seems to be peaking at the right time.

* * *

Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on X.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Warner Bros. Discovery

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