NBA: Doncic takes blame for Mavericks’ loss to Timberwolves in West Finals Game 4

NBA: Irving, Doncic propel Mavericks past Clippers in Dallas to lead playoff series 2-1

The Dallas Mavericks missed the opportunity to complete a sweep of the Minnesota Timberwolves on homecourt when they lost Game 4 of their Western Conference Finals series on Tuesday night.

The Mavericks were beaten 105-100 in the American Airlines Center to put the series at 3-1, providing a lifeline for the third-seeded Timberwolves.

Following the painful defeat, Dallas guard Luka Doncic, who finished the game with his sixth triple-double this postseason, took all the blame for his team’s inability to get the win in Game 4 and close out the series.

Doncic, the NBA’s scoring champion this season, finished the game with 28 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists. He shot 4 of 11 from the 3-point mark and was 7 of 21 from the field.

“I think that game is on me,” the 25-year-old Slovenian said. “[I] Just didn’t give enough energy. So, we got to do better. They won one game. We just got to focus on the next one.”

However, eight-time NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving, who, like Doncic, shot 33.3% from the field to finish with 16 points, praised his teammate for his willingness to take the blame as leader but added that the loss wasn’t on him alone; rather, the team as a whole just didn’t play to their required level.

“He’s not alone in this,” Irving said. “I expect him to say something like that, especially knowing how much he cares and how much he wants to win and how much he wants to lead our group.

“So I expect nothing less. I think you heard me, too, just say that it’s on me. That’s what you’re supposed to hear from your leaders of your team.

“We know that we didn’t play with the best energy or, you know, we didn’t create enough opportunities for us to get easy baskets enough. And, you know, just got to take the hit on the chin.”

The Mavericks never really had a proper hand in the game, and although they headed into the halftime break tied with the Timberwolves, the visitors took a five-point lead in the third quarter, which they held on to till the end of the game.

Minnesota, propelled by Anthony Edwards 29 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, as well as Karl-Anthony Towns’ 25-point performance, claimed the vital win to ensure they avoid a sweep and stay alive in the series.

The West Finals will now head to Target Center in Minnesota for Game 5 on Thursday night, with the Mavericks eyeing a road win like they did in the first two games of the series, while the Timberwolves will be looking to get another win on board to keep their fight for survival on.

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