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Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Timberwolves can make an unlikely comeback against Mavericks

By Vaseline May27,2024

DALLAS – Can the Timberwolves win four straight games and the Western Conference finals?

NBA history says no.

The history of American sports tells us that anything is possible.

No NBA team has ever won a series after trailing 3-0. The Wolves are down 3-0 against the Dallas Mavericks. Betting on Minnesota to win this series would be foolish, but ignoring the team’s chances ignores the unpredictable nature of sports.

I have two points of reference.

I covered the 2004 American League Championship Series. The New York Yankees took a 3-0 lead over the Boston Red Sox. Remember, at that moment you couldn’t say hello to a Boston fan without them saying they hadn’t won a World Series since 1918 and that the Curse of the Bambino was haunting their lives.

The city of Boston was in mourning…and then the Red Sox pulled off a win in Game 4, won three more, and then won the World Series, winning again in 2007, 2013, and 2018.

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I also walked alongside YE Yang when he did something similarly unimaginable: destroy Tiger Woods in a head-to-head battle in the final round of the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National.

Woods was considered invincible when he had a lead at a major. Yang defeated him by five strokes that Sunday and won the title by three shots.

The Red Sox beating the Yankees four straight and Yang winning his only major championship by directly destroying Woods were unimaginable events, until they weren’t.

What do the Wolves need to do to make NBA history?

Ride Kyle Anderson

Wolves coach Chris Finch said Anthony Edwards needs to “speed up” and Karl-Anthony Towns needs to “slow down”.

Kyle Anderson, the veteran forward known as “Slo-Mo,” put on a clinic in Game 3 on how to play with wisdom and control and penetrate the weak spots in the Mavericks’ defense.

He produced 10 points and three assists in just 17 minutes and blocked two shots, showing that his combination of height, quick hands and know-how may be the best antidote to the incredible skills of Mavs stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

Finch said late Sunday night that he probably should have played Anderson more. He is right. He can do that in Game 4.

Remember they are human

Doncic and Irving seemed unbeatable in this series. They are not. The Wolves won six more games in the regular season than the Mavs and lost fewer games in the first two rounds.

Doncic is shooting 43% from the field and 32% on three-pointers this postseason. He is certainly not infallible. Wolves either need to defend him better in endgame situations or secure enough of a lead that he can’t win the game in the final seconds.

Coach counters

Mavs coach Jason Kidd has gotten the better of Finch so far, and he and Wolves point guard Mike Conley have complained that the team is making “game plan” mistakes that lead to easy dunks and three-pointers from the Mavs’ supporting cast.

That is inexcusable, but also correctable.

Send vibrant flowers

Mavs rookie Dereck Lively II outplayed the Wolves’ big men until leaving Game 3 with what was called a neck sprain but looked more like a concussion. If he can’t return, the Wolves can finally establish superiority near the rim.

Stars should be stars

Karl-Anthony Towns experiences a career-destroying series. Edwards plays like a tired 22-year-old.

If either, or both, start playing efficiently in attack, these close games could go the Wolves way.

Blow them out

The Wolves defeated the Denver Nuggets by seven, 26, 45 and eight. Before that, they defeated the Phoenix Suns by 25, 12, 17 and six.

You don’t have to stop Doncic’s shot in the last second when you’re up by double digits.

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Conley said Monday that the Wolves haven’t had a game where everyone played well together. The Suns and Nuggets series were not flukes. When Wolves are playing at their peak, they need to win.

To get angry

Doncic has been disrespectful throughout the series, yelling at Rudy Gobert and Edwards and glaring at the Wolves bench.

There’s only one way to shut him up.

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