Team effort pushes Mavericks to 3-0 lead over Timberwolves

P.J. Washington broke a late tie with a 3-pointer, Daniel Gafford made big plays at both ends of the court down the stretch and the Dallas Mavericks outdueled the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves for a 116-107 victory in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Sunday night to go up 3-0 in the best-of-seven series.

The Mavericks will have an opportunity to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since winning the 2011 title when the clubs meet again Tuesday in Game 4, also in Dallas.

After trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half, the Timberwolves drew even at 77-all on an Anthony Edwards basket with 4:51 remaining in the third quarter, the first of 10 ties in the next 13 minutes.

Washington broke the last deadlock with his 3-pointer with 3:38 remaining, after which the Timberwolves got one free throw from Naz Reid 17 seconds later and never scored again until only 15.1 seconds remained.

Luka Doncic, the game’s co-leading scorer with 33 points, made it 109-105 on a short jumper with 2:16 remaining and Kyrie Irving connected from the right corner for a six-point advantage, leading into Gafford’s late heroics.

Getting additional playing time after sidekick Dereck Lively II had to leave the game for good in the third quarter with a strained neck, Gafford blocked Mike Conley’s layup attempt before rushing down under the Dallas hoop, where he slammed down a lob from Doncic while being fouled.

Gabbert’s free throw increased the lead 114-105 with 34.1 seconds remaining, effectively closing the door on the third-seeded Timberwolves.

Doncic complemented his 33 points with seven rebounds, a team-high five assists and five steals, while Irving also had 33 points for the Mavericks, who had won the first two games at Minnesota by a total of four points.

Washington chipped in with 16 points and a team-high eight rebounds, while Derrick Jones Jr. added 11 points.

Edwards paced the Timberwolves with 26 points to go with nine rebounds and a game-high nine assists, but failed to make either of his 3-point attempts as Minnesota was outscored 42-27 from beyond the arc.

Karl-Anthony Towns posted a 14-point ,11-rebound double-double for the Timberwolves, while Conley had 16 points, Jaden McDaniels 15, Reid 14 and Kyle Anderson 10.

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