The Dallas Mavericks and the Minnesota Timberwolves are both responsible for why the top two seeds in the West are on a beach right now instead of preparing for another series. After tough battles in the second round, the Mavs and the Timberwolves square off in what should be an entertaining Western Conference finals showdown that starts this Thursday in the Twin Cities.

Catch this game live on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 8:30 AM, Manila time

Away: Dallas Mavericks (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Luka Doncic
  • Kyrie Irving
  • Derrick Jones Jr.
  • P.J. Washington
  • Daniel Gafford

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks are back in the conference finals two years after they exited the same round via a 4-2 series loss to the Golden State Warriors. This time, though, Doncic has Kyrie Irving as a sidekick to go with a capable supporting cast that has made life easier for him and Uncle Drew in the playoffs. Even when Doncic was not at his 100 percent and Irving going through an underwhelming stretch in the second round versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Mavs pulled through in large part because the role players did their part and exceeded expectations. 

PJ Washington has perfectly summed it up for Dallas as he averaged 17.7 points with a 46.9 3FG% in the Thunder series. Derrick Jones Jr. also stepped up while Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II had their moments as well. Dallas’ offensive rebounding will be crucial too in the WCF, as it’s allowed the team to gain extra possessions for its lethal offense. Among all postseason teams, the Mavs are second so far with a 32.5 OREB%.

The Mavs are 4-1 against the spread in their last five road games.

Home: Minnesota Timberwolves (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Mike Conley
  • Anthony Edwards
  • Jaden McDaniels
  • Karl-Anthony Towns
  • Rudy Gobert

Unlike the Mavs, the last time the Timberwolves reached the conference finals round was so long ago that it’s making my knees weak just walking back to 2004 to reminisce about it. Minnesota can come across to a lot of people as – as corny as it sounds –  a team of destiny, especially after it ended the reign of the Denver Nuggets as NBA champs. 

But the Timberwolves aren’t just all vibe.  They can play. Anthony Edwards is leading the pack, but the twin-tower combo of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns could turn out to be Dallas’ biggest problem, literally and figuratively. Gobert always gets disrespected but the T’wolves are actually +111 when he is on the floor this postseason (best in the NBA). He and Towns can breathe a little easier now knowing that they’re past Nikola Jokic and still have the support of someone like Naz Reid. 

The Timberwolves are 5-2 against the spread in their last seven home games versus Dallas.


Spread: Minnesota Timberwolves  (-4.5)

Over/Under: Under (208.0)