|5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)02:3020:30 ET7:30 PM CT23:30 , April 3, 2019
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas Attendance: 19,576
Mavericks look to stay hot against Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks
- The Timberwolves have lost two in a row after falling to the Blazers at home on Monday, 132-122. Minnesota has lost 715 games by 10+ points since its inaugural 1989-90 season, most in the NBA in that span.
- Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 19.3 points on 34.7-percent shooting from the field and 15.8-percent shooting from three over his past four games after averaging 30.2 points with .583/.510 shooting splits over his previous 19 games.
- The Mavericks have won two straight, most recently beating the Sixers, 122-102, at home on Monday. Dallas has gone 3-3 in its last six, with all three wins coming against teams above .500 and all three losses coming to teams below .500 (based on current records).
- Justin Jackson scored 24 points in the win over Philadelphia, four shy of his career high (28 vs. GS on January 5). Jackson is shooting 46.8 percent from the field since joining Dallas after shooting 42.4 percent with Sacramento this season.
- Minnesota has lost both of its games versus Dallas this season after winning the previous five games in the matchup. The Timberwolves have allowed an average of 129.5 points to the Mavericks in the two games this season after allowing 90.8 points per game over the previous five.
- The Mavericks rank top five in both three-pointers attempted per game and free-throws attempted per game, something the team hasn't done since the 1987-88 season.
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The Dallas Mavericks are ending the season unexpectedly strong considering coach Rick Carlisle has opted to put the brakes on rookie of the year favorite Luka Doncic.
A variety of minor injuries have dogged Doncic since the All-Star break, when some speculated that the 20-year-old could be hitting a rookie wall. He has dealt with knee soreness, and he left last week's loss at Miami with a contusion to his right thigh, the result of a knee-to-knee collision.
Yet the Mavs, who recently shut down Tim Hardaway Jr. for the remainder of the season, pulled off a rather stunning win at Oklahoma City on Sunday, and then put a 20-point drubbing on the Philadelphia 76ers at home on Monday.
Under unlikely circumstances, Dallas reeled off its first back-to-back wins since the first week of February.
So will Doncic return to the lineup Wednesday night when the Mavericks play host to the Minnesota Timberwolves?
"We're going to be very prudent with this and make sure that he's 100 percent before even thinking about him getting back out there," Carlisle told reporters.
The unexpected victories could actually hurt the Mavs when it comes to the 2019 Draft. When Dallas and Atlanta swapped picks during last summer's draft, sending Doncic to the Mavs and the surging Trae Young to the Hawks, Dallas also sent Atlanta a top-five protected first-round pick.
So those victories against two playoff squads -- and three wins over playoff teams in the last five games -- could wind up being the difference in the Mavs keeping the lottery pick or shipping it to Atlanta.
Even Carlisle can't effectively explain his team's late surge.
"We've been through a lot this year," Carlisle told The Dallas Morning News. "We're getting our footing here at the end of the year, which is kind of an off-time to do it, but you know, they like each other. They like playing together, and they're putting forth really good effort right now."
The Timberwolves, who have lost two in a row and are just 2-8 in their last 10 as they were eliminated from playoff contention, can certainly expect a dogfight in Dallas.
Minnesota has made it a habit of late of digging early holes, fighting back, but then ultimately losing. They did it again in a 132-122 home loss to the Portland Trailblazers on Monday night. Minnesota was down 19 points in the second quarter, yet took a three-point lead into the fourth quarter before fading.
"Feels like Groundhog Day right now. It does. And I'm disappointed," Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said after the game. "It hurts when you're stressing competing for four quarters. We can't use youth as an excuse. But you see a lot of time with young players, defense has to matter. It has to hurt when someone scores on you. We have to get that point. We're going to use everything we have to move toward that, so we don't feel like this any more."
--Field Level Media
Updated April 2, 2019