Dallas Mavericks Defeat Minnesota Timberwolves To Advance To The NBA Finals

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Dončić, center, celebrates with teammates after Game 5 of the Western Conference finals in the NBA basketball playoffs against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday in Minneapolis. (Matt Krohn/AP via CNN Newsource)

By Jacob Lev, CNN

(CNN) — The Dallas Mavericks are heading to the NBA Finals following a 124-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday.

The Mavericks came out of the gates fast in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

Outscoring the Timberwolves 35-19 in the first quarter, the Mavericks were led by superstar Luka Dončić, who finished the quarter with 20 points. The 25-year-old Slovenian hit four 3-pointers, including back-to-back triples – one of them from the logo in center court – to put an exclamation point on a 12-0 Dallas run.

In the first half, Dončić and star guard Kyrie Irving combined for 44 points to take a 69-40 lead into halftime.

The Timberwolves were never able to recover in the second half as the Mavericks stayed in control.

Dončić and Irving both finished the game with 36 points.

With the win, the Mavericks advance to the franchise’s first Finals since 2011, when they beat the Miami Heat to capture the team’s first and only championship in team history.

Dončić was named the Western Conference Finals MVP and dedicated the award to the “whole team.”

“This means a lot,” Dončić told the TNT broadcast after the game. “We are going to the NBA Finals. Just can’t believe it man.”

Irving, who will be making his fourth appearance in the Finals, told the team to “enjoy the moment” when asked what advice he had.

“Realize how hard you worked to get here,” Irving continued. “Nothing is guaranteed in this league. Especially making it to the NBA Finals every year. We couldn’t have done it without a collective responsibility. Us working together every single day, practicing hard, doing the little things so we should reward ourselves by playing hard.”

Dallas will face the Boston Celtics with Game 1 scheduled to begin on June 6 at the TD Garden in Boston.

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