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Mavericks not satisfied heading into Game 2 vs. Timberwolves

USA TODAY
                                Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels on Wednesday.
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USA TODAY

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels on Wednesday.

The Dallas Mavericks battled back from Game 1 losses in each of their first two playoff series to advance to the next round.

This time, the Mavericks face a new, albeit more pleasant, challenge. They will try to find a way to build upon a 1-0 series lead when they tip off against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Friday night in Minneapolis.

“We’ve had quite a few tests in these last two series, and we’ve proven to ourselves how to respond to losses,” Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving said. “This is the first series where we’ve been able to start off with a win. Now, we’ve got to learn to deal with this, too.

“We can’t be satisfied. The job is not even near finished.”

The Mavericks held off the Timberwolves for a 108-105 win in Wednesday’s series opener. Minnesota led by four points with 3:37 to go, but Dallas took the lead with an 8-0 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers by Luka Doncic and P.J. Washington and a step-back jump shot by Doncic.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch conducted a film session with his players today. He did not hold back as he showed the team’s breakdowns in Game 1 and challenged them ahead of Game 2.

“Yeah, it was a rough film session,” Finch said. “I told the guys, ‘It’s been a long time since I’ve been this disappointed in your effort. Your performance, your attitude, your application and attention to detail just wasn’t there.’

“The Western Conference finals started. Not sure if they got the memo. But they got it (this) afternoon.”

Anthony Edwards included himself among the players who did not play with enough energy in Game 1. He will look for a bounce-back performance after finishing with 19 points on 6-for-16 shooting.

Jaden McDaniels led the Timberwolves with 24 points and made 6 of 9 shots from 3-point range.

“I think Jaden was the only one who came ready to play (in Game 1), and I think everybody else let him down,” Edwards said. “So, I think if we bring our best brand of basketball on Friday, I think we’ll see what type of game it will be.”

Dallas once again will look for leadership from its top duo of Doncic and Irving. They accounted for 63 of the Mavericks’ 108 points on Wednesday with Doncic scoring 33 and Irving adding 30.

The Mavericks shot 49.4 percent (43 of 87) overall but only 24 percent (6 of 25) from 3-point range. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves shot 42.7 percent (38 of 89) from the field and 36.7 percent (18 of 49) from long distance.

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said he does not want to see another discrepancy in which the Timberwolves make three times as many 3-pointers in Game 2.

“We’ve got to be better at the 3-point line,” Kidd said. “That wasn’t up to par again. They made a lot of corner 3s. We have to be better in our rotations, and then understanding with the 3s that they did make there in that first half, no one panicked. There was just a lot of trust.

“And that’s the great thing about our team is everyone trusts each other.”

Dallas is 5-2 on the road in the playoffs. Minnesota is 3-3 at home.

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