Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) works towards the basket against Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)
MINNEAPOLIS — Luka Doncic had 25 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds and Dallas Mavericks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-99 on Wednesday night to split the two-game set.
Tim Hardaway Jr. added 21 points after an illness sidelined him Monday night in Dallas’ 116-106 loss in Minnesota in which Doncic and coach Jason Kidd were ejected.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 19 points and Christian Wood added 12 for Dallas, which had lost two in a row.
“Honestly, I think it’s energy and body language,” Doncic said about the difference from Monday. “Today was unbelievable but that’s how we got to learn. We got to play like this every game. So, we got to learn from that.”
Rudy Gobert returned for the Timberwolves after missing three games with a sprained ankle, finishing with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Anthony Edwards had 23 points and Austin Rivers added 21 points in his second straight start for Minnesota, which had won three straight.
“They hit four 3s in a row, man,” Rivers said. “That’s 12 points in a matter of two minutes. Just totally changed the game. Otherwise, we win tonight. I think we’re the better team, but they hit big shots late and we gave up 3s.”
Midway through the fourth quarter, Hardaway hit two 3-pointers to start a 15-4 run as the Mavericks rallied and took control. Reggie Bullock added a pair of 3s during the run and Dallas finished 13 of 39 from beyond the 3-point line.
“You could see the improvement for our team coming down the stretch,” Kidd said. “Luka made some big shots, not just 3s but being able to play in the midrange. And then being the quarterback, being able to trust his guys to be able to deliver by making shots.”
The Mavericks were 6 of 10 from 3 in the fourth, while the Timberwolves had trouble converting from the outside. Minnesota was 8 of 30 from 3.
“They got us a little, they picked on our scheme a little bit there,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said. “But what hurt tonight was our inability to put the ball in the basket. I mean, it came down to offense hurt us tonight.”
DON’T POKE THE BEAR
Doncic was particularly animated late in the fourth quarter after Dallas’ spree of 3s and had some words for a fan who had been jawing at the Mavericks’ star.
“He said something, I say something else,” Doncic said. “We just go back and forth. That gets me going. So, I love that.”
Rivers was 8 of 13 from the field and 3 of 5 from 3 in the game. Over the past four games, he’s shooting a combined 25 of 34 (73.5%), including 14 of 20 (70%) from 3.
Mavericks: Dorian Finney-Smith was out with a right adductor strain. He was injured in the third quarter Monday night. … Dwight Powell returned after missing two games with a left thigh contusion. He came off the bench with Wood remaining in the starting lineup. … Maxi Kleber underwent surgery for a right hamstring tear on Monday. The team said he will begin rehabilitation immediately and there is no timetable for his return.
Timberwolves: Kyle Anderson was a game-time decision but missed his second straight game with back spasms. … Minnesota shot just 10 free throws, making seven, compared to Dallas going 23 of 27 from the line.
Mavericks: End their trip Friday night at Houston.
Timberwolves: Start a four-game trip in Boston on Friday night.
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