Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving shine, Aussie duo reach NBA Finals with Dallas Mavericks to face Boston Celtics

It’s official, the Australian duo of Josh Green and Dante Exum will play for the NBA title after the Dallas Mavericks humiliated Minnesota on their home court.

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

That means Kyrie Irving, who scored 15 points in the second quarter for Dallas, will face his former team, and more specifically, the Boston fans, in a series that is sure to open old wounds.

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

Meanwhile, Irving again proved to be the reliable teammate the Mavs hoped he would be when they traded for him, scoring 36 points in Game 5 and averaging 27 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists in the series.

Meanwhile, for Minnesota, Friday’s loss was a grisly end to a playoff run that held so much promise after the Anthony Edwards-inspired Timberwolves eliminated the defending champion Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.

Doncic is playing as the Mavs are 3-0 against the T-Wolves

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

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

While disappointing overall, the season as a whole was definitely a step in the right direction for Minnesota as Edwards established himself as a rising NBA superstar.

Doncic single-handedly outplayed Minnesota in the first quarter, scoring 20 points as the Mavericks took a 35-19 lead into the second quarter.

That was despite the game being tied at 18-18 midway 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 percent from the field in the quarter compared to Dallas’ 61 percent, and Rudy Gobert (seven points) led the Timberwolves in scoring in the first.

It was a dream start for Dallas, although the challenge was to maintain the same level of intensity entering the second as Dončić was given a well-deserved rest to start the quarter.

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

Dallas led 46-23 at the time, and Green and Exum were both on the court early in the second for the Mavs, looking for different ways to make an impact.

Green, who had a pair of steals and set up PJ Washington with a perfect rebound pass in the first quarter, made the drive late while generally playing with his signature energy on both ends.

Exum, meanwhile, rushed for a key defensive rebound at one point, though he couldn’t do much when Edwards forced him to touch the ground on a putback 3-pointer.

The Mavericks consistently ran Edwards pick-and-rolls throughout the game, trying to make life difficult for the Timberwolves guard, and they largely succeeded with that strategy.

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

The Timberwolves had numerous opportunities to build a manageable halftime deficit, but just couldn’t consistently make the shots when they needed to.

And on two special occasions, the Mavericks responded with their own shots at the other end to really make it sing.

First, Edwards missed a three-pointer that would have put the Timberwolves behind just 49-35 midway through the second quarter, Derrick Jones Jr. however, he made a three-pointer on the next possession.

Minutes later, Minnesota had a chance to cut the deficit to 53-39, but Naz Reid couldn’t make a 3-pointer when Washington then drilled one from deep to push the cushion to 20.

It didn’t get any better before halftime for the Timberwolves, as the Mavericks extended their lead to 69-40 after a 17-4 run to end the quarter.

Irving scored 15 points in the quarter, and Doncic hit some shots to end the half with 25.

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

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

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

NBA FINAL SCHEDULE (Times AEST)

First game: Friday, June 7, 10:30 a.m. in Boston

Game 2: Monday, June 10, 10 a.m. in Boston

Game 3: Thursday, June 13, 10:30 a.m. at Dallas

Game 4: Saturday, June 15, 9:00 a.m. at Dallas

Game 5 (if necessary): Tuesday, June 18, 10:30 a.m. in Boston

Game 6 (if necessary): Friday, June 21, 10:30 a.m. at Dallas

Game 7 (if necessary): Monday, June 24, 10 a.m. at Boston

Originally posted as Doncic, Irving shines, Australian duo reach NBA Finals with Mavericks

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