Sometimes you get a shot that has the quality look to it that would make you say you’d take it 100 times out of 100, but it just doesn’t go in. Sometimes you take 39 of those shots from beyond the three-point line and you only make 7. That was the story on Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center as the Mavs were ice-cold from beyond the arc during their 110-108 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
All of their three-point shooting woes could have been forgiven if they had just hit one more of them as the final buzzer sounded. Luka Doncic worked hard to send his defender Josh Okogie down to the ground to set up one of his patented step-back three’s, but Doncic instead opted to swing it left to an open Jalen Brunson, catching the ball with less than one second left, who proceeded missed the potential game-winner. Doncic defended his decision and spoke postgame about the confidence he has in Brunson to make that shot the next time it comes.
I asked Luka about the decision to pass the ball in the last seconds of the game. “For sure. I would do it again. He was open. I trust him.” Ladies and gentlemen- the mark of a true leader: making tough decisions – and standing by them. #Mavs @luka7doncic #MFFL pic.twitter.com/hsXgOYxUfS
— Dorothy J. Gentry (@DorothyJGentry) April 4, 2019
Again, it was very questionable that Brunson even could, or did, get the shot off in time. Perhaps Luka was aware of the fact that has shot a horrendous 26% from deep since the All-Star break and wanted to let a teammate (Brunson) who is shooting a much more impressive 38% from deep since the All-Star break take the final shot.
— MavsHighlights (@MavsHighlights) April 4, 2019
The Mavericks had to work pretty hard to even have a chance to win the game at buzzer after a poor third quarter had them down by as many as 12 points early in the fourth quarter. Dallas would go on a 20-8 run over a five minute stretch in the final frame to tie the game at 99 with just over four minutes left. However, the Timberwolves would then funnel their offense through their best player in Karl-Anthony Towns as he became too much for the likes of Salah Mejri and Dwight Powell down the stretch.
Towns would score 7 of Minnesota’s final 12 points en route to a 28 points, 13 rebound night fueled by an insanely efficient 12/15 shooting line. It seemed like whether he was blowing past defenders for easy shots at the rim or pulling up from 15 feet away, he was not going to miss tonight.
While Dwight Powell struggled on defense against the elite talent of Towns, he had himself one of his best offensive games of the season with a 25 point, 8 rebound performance boosted by an impressive 9/10 from the free throw line. Powell’s play since the All-Star break continues to increase the chance that he could opt-out of the final year of the four-year deal he signed with the Mavericks a few summers ago.
The Mavericks will practice on Thursday afternoon before returning to the court Friday night to host the Memphis Grizzlies. Wednesday’s loss dropped Dallas to 31-47 and will add some zest to Friday night’s matchup with Memphis as both teams will enter the game with identical records and odds in the all-important lottery standings.
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