“It’s like having Mariano Rivera and Dennis Eckersley,” remarked TNT commentator Reggie Miller on the clutch play of Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic.

Dallas has two of the best closers in the league, and once again, they came through in crunch time. Through three games, the point differential between the two teams is 12 points.

The Mavericks are 3-0.

Doncic and Irving took a winding road to perform at this level in front of the brightest lights, but they are making the most of their moment. After combining for 63 points in game one, they each dropped 33 last night on 20 shots while playing over 40 minutes. They scored or assisted on every Maverick basket from the six-minute mark in the fourth quarter until the end of the game, but Irving’s dagger with a minute left put Dallas up six, securing the win. More impressively, Minnesota fielded the best defense in the NBA in the regular season and bullied Jamal Murray in the last series. Dallas duo’s domination is not coming against lousy opposition. They are breaking down a defense with the defensive player of the year and rendering him ineffective. Now, the Mavericks are one win away from their first NBA finals appearance in a decade.

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Back on their home floor, and in front of Patrick Mahomes, Dallas played their best first half of the Western Conference Finals. P.J. Washington carried the offense early, scoring or assisting on eight of the first 19 Mavericks points. Irving closed the quarter with five points in the final 90 seconds, as the Mavs lead 33-28 at the end of one.

The three-point shooting advantage went decisively in Dallas’ favor the whole night, beginning in the second quarter. Three of Dallas’ first five makes in the second came from the long ball, helping extend their advantage to 12 at the midway point in the second. The Mavs went 14-28 from behind the arc in the game, compared to a dismal 9-30 performance from the Timberwolves. Jason Kidd’s squad went into halftime with a lead for the first time all series, but Minnesota’s points on four out of their five final possessions cut into their advantage.

Trailing 60-52 and 2-0 in the series, Minnesota never looked rattled. They saw Denver almost come back down from the same series line in the previous round and knew they needed to settle down and find their game. Led by Anthony Edwards, the Timberwolves played their best 12 minutes of the night. They scored 35 points in the third and made 4-6 threes, compared to one Dallas triple. Edwards came alive with ten points, including a slam that could be considered the best dunk of the playoffs. Minnesota turned the up-and-down pace into a physical street fight that suits their style. At the end of three, the teams were knotted up at 87, with each group desperate for a win.

It feels like the only way to beat this Mavericks team right now is to blow them out because if the game is close late, the two closers will turn out the lights. Irving scored the first seven points for Dallas in the fourth as he kept pace with a hot Minnesota start coming out of the T.V. timeout. The teams stayed within one possession of each other for the first ten minutes of the quarter before Irving passed the baton to Doncic, who hit a highly contested 11-foot jump shot, putting Dallas up 109-105 with two minutes to go. Karl-Anthony Towns had a chance to atone for his disastrous shooting night but clanked his eighth consecutive miss from three off the rim with 1:25 left before Irving ended it with a fallaway jumper on the ensuing possession. An alley-oop to Daniel Gafford, who came on for an injured Derek Lively II, put the exclamation point on another hard-fought, clutch win. Dallas can close out the Timberwolves on their home floor Tuesday and complete a sweep in the WCF for the second straight season.

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