The Dallas Mavericks pulled off a crucial win against the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight to put the Mavs one game behind the Utah Jazz for the fourth seed in the West. The teams will match up again on Friday as the Timberwolves are battling to keep Denver off their tail and qualify as a top-six seed to avoid the play-in.
The Timberwolves have been one of the best teams in the league since the All-Star break, and veteran guard Patrick Beverley has been bringing aggression on the court that the Wolves haven't had before. Beverley has been taunting opponents all season, with his taunting coming to a peak against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Beverley has matched up with the Mavericks in the playoffs as part of the LA Clippers for the last two seasons, so he has a rivalry with Luka Doncic. After stripping and fouling Luka on a drive, Beverley slapped Doncic on his behind like how he did against LeBron James.
Doncic did respond by draining an incredible step-back three over Karl-Anthony Towns in the next play to put the Mavs up by 12. They ended up losing that lead in the fourth but fought back with a series of great offensive plays to get open threes from Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock.
Doncic struggled, ending with just 15 points on the night. Beverley had a terrible shooting night, making 20% of his shots and ending up with 8 points. However, his defensive impact was felt on Doncic all night long.
The Utah Jazz lost to the Brooklyn Nets tonight as well, allowing the Mavs to recover from the two prior losses that saw them lose the fourth seed after gaining it last week. The Timberwolves have fallen back to the seventh seed and will look to avenge this loss on Friday to make sure they stay ahead of Denver in the standings.