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Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves

Team Totals: Mavs 101, Wolves 106.5

Injury Report: Mike Conley (Q, calf), Luka Doncic (P, knee/ankle), Maxi Kleber (O, shoulder)

Mavs projected starters: Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Jones Jr., P.J. Washington, Daniel Gafford

Wolves projected starters: Mike Conley, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert

Offensive Ranks: Mavs 8th, Wolves 16th
Defensive Ranks: Mavs 17th, Wolves 1st

Kidd quotes: Said Kyrie got them going early and Luka was able to find guys when they were around the basket, said Kyrie helped everyone relax, said they have to do a better job on the boards, said they’re trying to take away everything and they have to be better on 3-point defense, said Ant had some uncharacteristic turnovers and they want to make it tough on him, said their bigs competed at a high level.

Finch quotes: Said they had “terrible offense down the stretch” and they have to be better in clutch moments, said there are more 3-pointers to be had, said they needed some better rim finishing, said the Mavs were driving a ton when Rudy Gobert was off the floor, said they’ll look at some of their matchups and it’s still early in the series.

Stats and Notes:

Rim points per game: Mavs 20th, Wolves 12th

Rim points allowed per game: Mavs 16th, Wolves 1st

Catch and shoot points per game: Mavs 17th, Wolves 21st

Catch and shoot points allowed per game: Mavs 17th, Wolves 5th

PNR handler scoring per game: Mavs 9th, Wolves 25th

PNR handler scoring allowed per game: Mavs 15th, Wolves 20th

Transition scoring per game: Mavs 8th, Wolves 25th

Transition scoring allowed per game: Mavs 18th, Wolves 7th

*Sure, Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic went off, but the headline to me was how well the Mavs played on defense. The Wolves had their worst rim efficiency on offense and were horrendous on their spot-up shooting at 0.77 PPP. The poor spot-up shooting was a pretty strong trend for the Wolves coming into this one, and Minnesota will really need to fix that as teams pack the paint on them. The Mavs have consistently been excellent with their rim protection and are now at a ridiculous 1.05 PPP on rim defense. Nobody else is even close in the postseason with the 76ers at 1.12 in the playoffs, and in the regular season the best team was the Wolves at 1.17 (Mavs at 1.27 during the season). Dereck Lively is that dude. One constant for the Wolves on both ends was their lack of energy, and Kyrie Irving had mentioned that as an attack point during his in-game interview and in the post-game interview. On the other side of things, the Mavs just owned the paint with 52 rim points for their best rim output all postseason. They won the transition battle with 29 points and completely flipped the script on shot-type profile. After averaging 31.8 spot-up plays per game in their last five, that was cut to just 19. Instead, they really dialed up their on-ball attacks with 25 PNR handler possessions, and they had 12 roll-man possessions. It was quite clear that their offensive game plan was almost the exact opposite of how they were attacking the Thunder. The Mavs also botched some of their open looks at just 0.62 PPP on their 13 unguarded C&S shots. It was a huge win for the Mavs, especially when they’ve struggled so much in Game 1s. Jason Kidd was 0-5 and Luka was 1-6 in Game 1s. The Wolves can’t mess around this time.

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