Home » Kyrie-Celtics reunion locked in after Doncic dazzles in big win to send Australian duo to NBA Finals

Kyrie-Celtics reunion locked in after Doncic dazzles in big win to send Australian duo to NBA Finals

Kyrie-Celtics reunion locked in after Doncic dazzles in big win to send Australian duo to NBA Finals

It is official.

Australian duo Josh Green and Dante Exum will be playing for an NBA championship after the Dallas Mavericks humiliated the Minnesota Timberwolves on their own court.

A Luka Doncic-inspired Mavericks ran away 124-103 winners in Game 5 to seal the Western Conference Finals series 4-1 and book a spot in the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.

It means Kyrie Irving, who had 15 points in the second quarter for Dallas, will come up against his former team and, more specifically, the Boston fanbase in a series that is sure to open up old wounds.

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Doncic stars as Mavs go 3-0 over Wolves | 00:50

Doncic, who had 36 points in the win and was later announced as the Western Conference Finals MVP, finished the series averaging 32.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists.

Meanwhile, Irving once again proved himself the dependable co-star the Mavs hoped he would be when they traded for him, scoring 36 points after averaging 27.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists in the series.

Meanwhile, for Minnesota, Friday’s loss was a jarring end to a playoffs run that promised so much after an Anthony Edwards-inspired Timberwolves eliminated the defending champions in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Former NBA head coach and current TNT broadcaster Stan Van Gundy described it as an “embarrassing” result for Minnesota, who lost all three home games during the series.

“A great win in Game 4 and then you come home again and lay an egg,” he said in commentary.

Overall though, while a disappointing ending, the season as a whole was certainly a step in the right direction for Minnesota as Edwards announced himself as an ascending NBA superstar.

Kyrie Irving will return to Boston. Brian Fluharty/Getty Images/AFP
Kyrie Irving will return to Boston. Brian Fluharty/Getty Images/AFPSource: AFP

Doncic alone outscored Minnesota in the first quarter, putting up 20 points as the Mavericks jumped out to a 35-19 lead heading into the second.

That was despite the game being tied up at 18-18 halfway through the opening period, with Dallas ending the quarter on a 17-1 run as the Timberwolves struggled to get anything going.

Minnesota shot just 31 per cent from the field in the quarter compared to 61 per cent for Dallas, with Rudy Gobert (seven points) leading the Timberwolves for shot attempts in the first.

It was the dream start for Dallas, although the challenge entering the second was to maintain the same level of intensity as Doncic got a well-earned rest to open the quarter.

With that in mind, it was Irving’s turn to take over as the Mavericks guard scored six points to go with an assist in the opening three minutes of the quarter before Doncic checked back in.

Dallas was up 46-23 at that point, with Green and Exum both on the court early in the second for the Mavs and finding different ways to make an impact.

Green, who had a pair of steals and set up P.J. Washington with a perfect bounce pass in the first quarter, made a driving layup while generally playing with his trademark energy on both ends.

Exum, meanwhile, at one point hustled for a crucial defensive rebound, although there was little he could do when Edwards made him touch earth on a stepback 3.

The Mavericks had been consistently blitzing Edwards pick-and-rolls all game trying to make life hard to the Timberwolves guard and were largely having success with that strategy, although sometimes you just have to live with the fact big players make big plays.

Still, that Edwards 3-pointer only cut the Dallas lead to 46-26 with 8:43 left in the second.

There Timberwolves had a number of opportunities to make it a manageable deficit at halftime but just couldn’t consistently make shots when they needed to.

And on two specific occasions, the Mavericks responded with clutch shots of their own on the other end to really make it sting.

First, Edwards missed a 3-pointer which would have had the Timberwolves only trailing 49-35 midway through the second quarter, with Derrick Jones Jr. making a triple on the next possession.

A few minutes later, Minnesota had a chance to cut the difference to 53-39 but Naz Reid couldn’t make the 3 as Washington then drilled one from deep to push the buffer out to 20.

It didn’t get any better before halftime for the Timberwolves as the Mavericks pushed their lead out to 69-40 off the back of a 17-4 run to close out the quarter.

Irving had 15 points in the quarter while Doncic made a few clutch shots to end the half on 25.

Any hope of an early response from Minnesota in the third was quickly put to bed by Dallas as the Mavericks opened the period on a 6-2 run to take the biggest lead of the game.

Minnesota won the third quarter 33-28 but still trailed 97-73, with just 12 minutes to erase a 24-point deficit and save its season.

In the end, the Timberwolves never really got close to threatening a comeback as the Mavericks booked a date with the Celtics in the Finals.


Game 1: Friday, June 7, 10.30am in Boston

Game 2: Monday, June 10, 10am in Boston

Game 3: Thursday, June 13, 10.30am in Dallas

Game 4: Saturday, June 15, 9am in Dallas

Game 5 (If necessary): Tuesday, June 18, 10.30am in Boston

Game 6 (If necessary): Friday, June 21, 10.30am in Dallas

Game 7 (If necessary): Monday, June 24, 10am in Boston