3 Fateful reasons why the Minnesota Timberwolves fell short of the NBA Finals

The Minnesota Timberwolves fell short of an NBA championship in this year's NBA playoffs, forcing them to question what it will require for them to take that next step
Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Five
Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Five / David Berding/GettyImages
3 of 3

3. No answers for Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving

The Minnesota Timberwolves were elite on defense in the regular season, leading the league in defensive rating and sporting one of the best defensive units in NBA history. The Mavericks saw their defense and tore it to shreds, averaging 121.3 points per 100 possessions, a mark that would’ve given them a top-three offense during the regular season.

Why did they struggle so much on defense? Because they couldn’t stop Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. Doncic and Irving were incredible this series, with Luka averaging around 32 points, ten rebounds, and eight assists per game on 62.7% true shooting and Kyrie averaging around 27 points, four rebounds, and five assists per game on 58.5% true shooting.

The Mavericks’ backcourt had no issues handling the Timberwolves’ staunch defense as both players displayed remarkable shotmaking and Luka dominated the Timberwolves in pick-and-rolls. Despite both players being high-usage ball handlers, they worked together to terrorize the Timberwolves’ defense.

On top of this, their ability to get into the paint opened up opportunities for their teammates, like Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II, who were excellent as lob threats and play finishers. Doncic deserves a ton of praise for his performance in this series as he produced at a very high level on both ends of the floor. Advanced metrics indicate this was a historic series for him and anybody who watched this series would probably agree. He was amazing and what he did against an all-time-great defense that gave Nikola Jokic problems, was unbelievable.

dark. Next. Trades shake up NBA Draft . NBA Trade Rumors: Predicting 8 trade scenarios that would shake up the 2024 NBA Draft