Timberwolves stars deliver, Luca Doncic doesn’t, Charles Barkley has the weather

1. Wolves delay elimination and force Game 5 Thursday at home

Upset in the fourth quarter of their first three games in the Western Conference Finals against Dallas, the Timberwolves’ star team fought back in Tuesday’s Game 4, 105-100 victory in Dallas.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards dominated Mavericks stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving 54-44 on a night where they resisted elimination for the third time this postseason.

Towns and Edwards combined to score 13 points down the stretch before Towns fouled out late in the game.

Edwards approached a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Towns scored 20 of his 25 points after halftime, including consecutive three-pointers while shooting 9 of 13. He was particularly lethal from deep, where he made 4 of 5 three-pointers after getting a score 0 out of 8 in the third game.

“I’ve never been swept in my career,” Edwards later told TNT. “I took it personally. I definitely didn’t want to get swept away, especially not on their home field, hearing that their fans were talking stupid things all night.”

2. Sometimes it snows in… May?

During the second quarter, TNT analyst Charles Barkley was hoping for a four-game sweep of Dallas because he didn’t want to return to Minnesota for a fifth game.

“It snows in Minnesota,” he said.

It wasn’t snowing. It was 62 degrees and partly cloudy.

Barkley said he saw on social media that it was snowing in Minnesota. They were actually cottonwood trees doing what they do this time of year.

When the team moved on to their “Shaqtin a Fool” segment, Kenny Smith mockingly said, “It doesn’t snow in Minnesota,” to which Shaq replied, “But it’s still cold.”

Everyone returns to the Target Center for another game. Barkley said he would have to buy a new suit if the series extended to five games.

3. Doncic takes responsibility

Doncic was blamed for his 7-of-21 shooting night and 28-point game that lacked only one or two decisive shots.

“This match depends on me,” he said afterwards. “I didn’t bring enough energy, I have to do better.”

But Doncic made a memorable three-pointer as Dallas tried to rally in the game’s final minutes, even though he missed a free throw that would have made it a four-point game.

4. Mavs miss one Lively player, get another back in the lineup

Dallas played without rookie center Derek Lively II, who had made such an impact with his athleticism and rim protection. But they pulled big man Maxi Kleber, who hadn’t played in 25 days due to a shoulder injury suffered in the first round against the Clippers.

Lively left Sunday’s second quarter after falling in the paint and taking Towns’ knee to the back of the head as Towns also went down for the ball. He was diagnosed with a sprained neck following the collision. Until then, he was perfect on the field in the first two-plus games of the series, 13-for-13.

Veteran Dwight Powell was the first man off the Mavs bench about four minutes into the game. Kleber made his first appearance late in the first quarter and played over 13 minutes.

5. Finch feels good enough to get a “T”

Wolves coach Chris Finch was up Tuesday and more active during timeouts from his seat in the second row behind his team’s bench. He called plays during timeouts, engaged with officials and even drew a technical foul for contesting Town’s fifth foul in the third quarter.

Finch did so limping but without the crutches he’s used since his own Mike Conley inadvertently collided with him on the bench in the final game of a first-round sweep of Phoenix. He had to undergo surgery to repair an injured knee.

6. Turnovers were almost a game changer

The Wolves staved off the sweep and avoided just enough forced, stupid passes and too many fouls and stupid turnovers, including a potential four-point play in which Doncic missed the free throw in the final seconds.

Towns found himself sitting in the final four minutes of the second quarter after being called for reaching over his back for that third personal foul, then got into trouble again with his fourth and fifth fouls before to make a mistake.

The Wolves led in rebounds (40-38) and points in the paint (46-36), but they were outscored 30-15 by the Mavs in points off turnovers, including 20 in the first half.

7. A big team goes small in Game 4

When Towns went to the bench late in the second quarter, the Wolves were briefly without a lineup that lacked point guard Mike Conley and frequent ball handler Edwards, who along with Rudy Gobert, also committed three fouls.

Instead, they had this lineup: Kyle Anderson, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Naz Reid, Jaden McDaniels and Gobert. Conley quickly returned when Gobert and Edwards also went to the bench with their third foul.

8. KAT on Walton

Wolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns said he “felt hurt” when he learned Monday that Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and unconventional television analyst Bill Walton had died of cancer. They last spoke during All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis in February. “He still has a great personality, I think everyone knows that,” Towns said Tuesday morning. “It’s definitely a sad day for the NBA. Sad day for the fraternity to lose not only such an incredible player, but someone who contributed so much to our game. Such an incredible person who brought a glow of hope in the lives of many people.

9. Unplugged off the field

Wolves teammate Jaylen Clark — who, like Walton, played at UCLA — broke the news to Towns because Towns is no longer connected to social media.

“A long time ago, I think, when I came back from injury,” said Towns, who returned from knee surgery for the final two games of the regular season. “I have people who take care of that.”

10. Mavericks’ Kidd and Irving share more than a love for the game

They are both point guards who played in their era with special vision and skills. Irving won an NBA title with Cleveland in 2016, his head coach Jason Kidd won one as a player with Dallas in 2011 and as an assistant coach with the Lakers in 2020.

And they share a March 23 birthday, although Kidd was born in 1973 in San Francisco while Irving was born in 1992 in Melbourne, Australia. Kidd is 51, Irving 32.

“We celebrate his birthday first, not mine,” Kidd said. “He’s a little younger than me and his skills are much higher than mine. We both love basketball and we want to be great, as players and now as a coach. We are able to say the truth to another.”

The Star Tribune did not send the author of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other materials.

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