The Dallas Mavericks were not supposed to win this game.

After the Mavs came from behind and stole game one on the road, Minnesota threw their best punch, needing a split to keep pace in the Western Conference Finals.

Everything went according to plan until Luka Doncic had different ideas.

Since going 6-20 in game four of the semifinals, Doncic dropped 29 or more points in the next four games, played over 40 minutes in all of them and the Mavs are 4-0.

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Last night, the Slovenian sensation unleashed his full potential, scoring 32 points, making 13 assists, and securing ten rebounds, a triple-double. His late-game heroics draw most of the attention, but without his play up until that point, Dallas would not be in that position. Doncic outperformed every other star on the floor. His running mate, Kyrie Irving, put up only 20 points while taking 16 shots. Minnesota’s best player, Anthony Edwards, looks exhausted and shot 29% from the field, and Karl-Anthony Towns sat on the bench in crunch time in favor of Naz Reid. Add in that Doncic’s game-winning shot went over the 7’1” defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert and game two will be remembered as the Luka Doncic game if Dallas holds on to win the series.

Like the ending of game one, the teams went shot for shot in the first quarter. They stayed within one possession of each other for the first nine minutes of the frame before a Reid three gave Minnesota an early six-point lead. The sixth man of the year’s shot destroyed the Dallas defense. He went 7-9 from long range while making his first five. The offensive explosion continued to start the second as another Reid triple capped off a 16-9 run in the first four minutes of the quarter, giving Minnesota a 48-33 advantage. Their lead swelled to 18 after an Edwards three, but Dallas scored on four of their final five possessions to end the half and whittled the deficit to 12.

Mike Conley went to the line for three shots for three shots after being fouled on a long-range jumper, and Minnesota went ahead by 15 for the first time in the second half. But Doncic did not go away and began to heat up. With 7:21 left in the third, he scored or assisted on the following nine Dallas points, cutting the lead to six. Minnesota scored on their last five possessions of the quarter, with another Reid three as an exclamation point, but Dallas found themselves within seven, heading into the fourth.

All the Mavericks needed was a chance.

Irving took the load off Doncic to start the frame and scored or assisted on all eight points of an 8-0 Dallas run, putting his team in front for the first time 87-86. From then on, neither team went down by more than five for the rest of the game. Two free throws with 1:29 from Edwards capped 12 straight possessions that ended in points coming from dunks, layups, or free throws for either squad. The sides attacked each other inside as fatigue and intensity increased. But Irving chose the perfect time to hit Dallas’ first three of the frame.

A Doncic drive and kick left the PG alone in the corner, and he sunk the shot, pulling his team within two. Two straight Minnesota turnovers left the door open for Dallas, and Doncic burst through with a game-winning three after a Kidd timeout with 12 seconds to go. Reid missed a three on the other end as Minnesota lost the series’ first two games at home. The backcourt duo of Irving and Doncic are performing reminiscent of the Golden State Warriors run and find themselves two wins away from an NBA finals appearance.

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