Timberwolves escape Dallas with first win of Western Conference finals, over Mavericks 105-100

The Timberwolves and Mavericks play tonight in Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals, with Dallas leading the series 3-0. Staff writer Chris Hine reports live from American Airlines Arena.

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10:11 pm: Wolves escape Dallas after tense fourth quarter

DALLAS — Game 4 of the Western Conference finals was similar to the first three stories — with the Wolves taking a fourth-quarter lead as the game entered the final minutes. This time, the Wolves were able to write a different result and stave off elimination with a 105-100 win over the Mavericks.

Game 5 is Thursday at Target Center again with Dallas up 3-1.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards had their best games of the series and were able to hit enough shots in the fourth quarter that the Wolves were able to survive and extend the streak a bit.

Edwards finished with 29 points, including several key buckets in the final minutes, while Towns had an efficient night with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting with 1 minute, 38 seconds to play.

With the Wolves leading 100-97, Edwards hit a long jumper from the right wing to give them a five-point lead with 39.7 seconds left.

Downs and Edwards were 20-of-38 from the field, and they outscored Luke Doncic (28 points) and Kyrie Irving (16 points), who were 13-of-39.

Both Towns and Gobert had committed five fouls by the 8:42 mark of the fourth quarter. Wolves opted to ride with both as the Mavericks leveled the score at 83 runs. Downs buried a pair of threes to give the Wolves a 95-90 lead with 5:04 left.

Gobert drove to the foul line to put the Wolves up by seven, but missed both free throws. At the other end, the Wolves couldn’t put together a rebound that led to a Daniel Gafford dunk. The Wolves’ next possession featured a lot of dribbling from Edwards.

Downs fouled Doncic with 1:38 to play, and Doncic hit all three free throws to cut the Wolves’ lead to 100-95. But the Wolves wouldn’t relinquish a late lead on this night.

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9:27 p.m.: Downs have five turnovers, but the Wolves lead by five in the fourth quarter.

In each round of the playoffs, Anthony Edwards praised Karl-Anthony Towns for keeping Towns out of foul trouble, as the Wolves needed Towns in the postseason.

But in Game 4, foul trouble haunted Towns and even Edwards a bit.

Downs committed five fouls in 22 minutes and the Wolves led the Mavericks 78-73 late in the third. Downs was looking to hit it off before he exited with 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting.

Edwards committed four fouls and the Wolves capitalized on their challenge, trying to overturn Edwards’ fourth foul on Daniel Gafford. Then Rudy Gobert also picked up his fourth century with just over two minutes left in the quarter.

Gobert and Jones were caught on a screen with Dallas leading 59-56, exchanging words after the play with the two clashing chests. Both had technical problems.

Downs with 7:09 to play in the quarter and no. Picked up an offensive foul for 4, but the Wolves wanted to leave him in the game. Downs responded with six points during an 8-0 Wolves run that took a 66-62 lead before a timeout with 5:39 remaining.

But not long after No. 5. Downs elbowed Dallas forward PJ Washington for a jump shot at the 4:59 mark. Wolves coach Chris Finch argued for a technical.

The Mavericks committed 13 Wolves turnovers for 28 points. The Wolves mostly controlled Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving through the three; The duo combined for 9-for-27.

8:39 p.m.: Timberwolves pressured into turnovers, fouls, but still tied at half

Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert each picked up three fouls in the first half, and the Wolves relinquished a 12-point lead and went into the locker room tied 49-49.

The Wolves’ defense held Dallas to just 37% shooting, but the Mavericks were 8-for-19 from the 3-point line, which helped finish the game on a Wolves team that shot 47% but made just four threes.

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Eight Wolves turnovers led to 18 points by the Mavs.

Edwards finished with 17 points in the half, but the Wolves nearly gave up a 30-20 lead in the opening minutes of the quarter. They rallied behind Mike Conley’s 13 first-half points to lead 42-34, but a pair of Derrick Jones threes capped an 8-0 Dallas spurt to tie the score at 42.

The Wolves had to play the last 2:40 without Towns, Gobert and Edwards. The score was tied 45-45 at that point and stayed that way for the rest of the half, with Dallas preventing them from capitalizing on those minutes.

Danczyk scored 17 points on 4-for-13 shooting, but three threes and 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. The Wolves had a 22-10 edge in paint points.

8:03pm: Anthony Edwards gives the Wolves the lead in the first quarter

Behind 14 points from Anthony Edwards, the Timberwolves led the Mavericks 27-20 after the first quarter.

To start the night, the Wolves switched their starting defensive linemen, with Edwards guarding Luka Doncic and Jaden McDaniels guarding Kyrie Irving. Doncic started off hot with eight early points as the Mavericks and Wolves were tied 10-10 at halftime.

But after Dwight Powell checked in for Daniel Gafford – when the injured Derek Lively is usually in the game – the Wolves successfully hit the rim. Minnesota went on a 10-0 run to make it 20-10 with 2 minutes, 50 seconds left. Mike Conley had three steals in the quarter.

Edwards found success from all levels, hitting a three from the midrange and getting to the rim. He attempted eight free throws in the quarter, though he missed three.

Dallas shot 6-for-29 from the field and no player outside of Luka Doncic or Kyrie Irving made a field goal until the 1:29 mark of the first quarter.

The Wolves were 10-of-16 but had five turnovers with seconds left, including a foul by Edwards, that helped the Mavs end the quarter on an 8-3 run.

5:25 pm: Shootaround chat on KAT’s shoot

While Karl-Anthony Towns was talking to reporters following the Timberwolves’ shootaround Tuesday morning, Anthony Edwards walked into the crowd and yelled, “Gate’s hitting eight threes tonight, everybody you’ll listen to.”

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“That’s a prediction right there,” Downs said. “It’s going to be a beautiful one.”

If the Wolves are going to extend their streak against Dallas, they need Downs to shake off his struggles this series and get back the player who helped them win the series against the Nuggets.

Downs is 15-of-54 so far in the series, and he’s 3-of-22 from three-point range. Towns said he didn’t try to do anything out of the ordinary to get himself into Game 4.

“I know I did the job, so I’m just confident to go out there and shoot the ball and, like always, see it go through the net,” Downs said.

As for the team’s overall mindset facing elimination, Towns said the team hasn’t lost hope that they can come back in the series, especially as they came back from elimination against Denver to win the series.

“I know I heard a lot of grumbling when that series got to 3-2 — not outside, just people around town or around us in general. The series is over for a lot of people. But everybody in our locker room believes. As long as everybody in that locker room believes, we can. Anything is possible.”

Wolves coach Chris Finch has confidence in Downs: “I told him, ‘The past is irrelevant to the future. Trust your ability. Be confident… shots will fall’.”

4:16 pm: Injury reported

For Dallas, Derek Lively II is likely to be out in Game 3 with a sprained neck, but the Mavericks could get an extra boost to their front line in Maxi Kleber, who could return for Game 4 from a shoulder injury. Kleber improved. Lively was questionable ahead of Game 4 when he was listed as questionable.

If the Wolves force a Game 5, it will be Thursday night at Target Center.

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