Luka Doncic took responsibility for the Mavericks loss after game four. Even with a triple-double, the Slovenian went 7-21 from the floor and knew that performance was not enough to beat a talented Minnesota team.

On Thursday, he atoned for his errors.

Doncic detonated during game five, scoring 20 of his 36 points in the first quarter and obliterating the Timberwolves from tip-off to the final buzzer. His running mate, Kyrie Irving, tied up any loose ends, dropping 36 points of his own and stymied any attempted Minnesota run try to make the contest competitive. The Mavericks outshot Minnesota from three, a hallmark of the series, knocking down 15 triples compared to Minnesota’s ten as their offensive outburst rendered the contest complete by halftime. Dallas won all three games in Minnesota on the road, proving that the duo of Doncic and Irving can take care of business anytime, anywhere.

After dropping game four, Dallas did not want to give Minnesota an ounce of belief. Doncic and Co. turned game five into a four-quarter beatdown from the first minute. From the 5:25 mark until the end of the first, Dallas ripped off a 15-1 run, turning a one-possession lead into a commanding 16-point advantage. It became a microcosm of Murphy’s law as Dallas could do no wrong, and Minnesota could not make a shot. Doncic scored or assisted on 10 of the 15 points, while Anthony Edward’s 1-2 at the line was his team’s only point heading into the second.

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Dallas did not let their foot off the gas. Five straight points scored or assisted by Irving put the Mavs up 40-21 after the first minute in the second stanza. A Mike Conley jump shot snapped a six-minute drought without a field goal for Minnesota, but the damage was done. Whenever Minnesota responded, Dallas immediately answered, as the Timberwolves never came within less than 16 points for the rest of the quarter or the game. Jason Kidd’s club finished the first half on an 8-2 run, with Irving or Doncic knocking down 75% of the points, and took a 69-40 blowout into the break.

Just like the beginning of each quarter, Dallas exploded to begin the third. The Mavericks blitzed Minnesota for 11 points in three minutes and sucked all life out of the Target Center, with Dallas up by 34. The Timberwolves attempted a comeback, scoring 33 points in the frame while splashing five threes, but still found themselves down 24 heading into the fourth. Irving went 4-10 with two threes in the third, repeatedly breaking Minnesota’s back.

Neither team emptied their benches until three minutes left in the game, but Minnesota waved the white flag long before then. Dallas held a 25-point advantage for most of the quarter, even while playing at half-speed. When the final buzzer sounded, Dallas had put an emphatic exclamation mark on a dominant series win.

After slaying the defending champs, Minnesota came into the Western Conference Finals as the betting favorite. Yet, the Mavericks will face the Boston Celtics in the NBA finals in what should be a blockbuster series. Irving faces his former team, with both parties having sour tastes in their mouth. Kristaps Porzingis also spent a few seasons with Dallas and received an opportunity to exact his revenge. Doncic or Jayson Tatum, two first-team All-NBA players, will win their first championship and begin to cement their legacy.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves’ playoff run that started so brightly ended in despair. Edwards became a certified star during the post-season, but questions remain about whether the surrounding roster best suits his strengths. Minnesota will pay into the luxury tax before the off-season begins and needs to make a franchise-altering decision on whether or not to trade Karl-Anthony Towns.

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