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Aidin Ebrahimi’s 2024 NBA Western Conf. Finals Summary

Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the Mavericks have made the NBA Finals for the third time

Posted on June 3, 2024


  By Aidin Ebrahimi, SuperWest Sports

After a long and eventful season, the stage is set for a dramatic conclusion.

Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the Dallas Mavericks have made the NBA Finals for the third time in franchise history.

But that shouldn’t take away from the incredible accomplishments of the Timberwolves in the 2023-24 season.

Without further ado then, here’s my review of the 2024 Western Conference Finals, including a preview of the NBA Finals.

The Series Itself

No. 3 Timberwolves vs. No. 5 Mavericks (Mavericks won 4-1)

Simply put, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns failed to show up in the first two games of the series. These two games were very winnable, with Game 1 being decided by three points and Game 2 being decided by a solitary point.

Edwards shot 11-33 from the field, and while he tried to pass the ball more (15 assists in those two games), Towns failed to positively impact those games. KAT shot 10-36 and was unable to contribute to any other area of the game.

After losing Game 1 and Luka Doncic hitting the dagger in Game 2, Minnesota had allowed Dallas to steal their precious homecourt advantage despite two impressive performances from Naz Reid.

Edwards woke up from his slumber in Game 3, scoring 10 points during a third-quarter Timberwolves rally. But his efforts were spoiled by Towns, who went 0-4 in the fourth quarter. The Mavs went up 3-0, a lead that has never been relinquished in postseason history.

The Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic | NBA.com

The Mavs were on point for almost the entire series, with their only loss coming in Game 4. That game was the only game where Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving struggled to score efficiently, while it was Towns’ only good game of the series.

Any hopes of an unlikely Timberwolves comeback were shattered in Game 5, as Doncic and Irving both dropped 36 points in a game that was over by halftime.

Now, the Mavs are on to the NBA Finals, but the Timberwolves shouldn’t view this season as a failure.

What’s Next for Minnesota?
Giannis Antetokounmpo was flamed by NBA fans last year when he said that failures are “always steps to success,” but I actually agree with him.

This quote fits the Timberwolves perfectly, as although they failed to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy, they still had a very successful season and shouldn’t be ashamed of their campaign.

Remember, last year we were all making fun of them for the Rudy Gobert trade. We all thought they’d be stuck in “No Man’s Land” for years to come.

While I still believe that the team would have been better off in the long run without the Gobert trade, you can’t deny his impact on the team. Gobert averaged 5.8 defensive win shares this season, the second-highest mark of his career.

It would have been a career-high 6.2 DWS per game had he played in all 82 games of the season. Sure, he struggled against Nikola Jokic in the second round, but almost any other player in the NBA would have struggled against Jokic.

Gareth Patterson/AP
Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Town in Game 4 | Gareth Patterson/AP

Anthony Edwards will also be under contract until 2029, so the only real question for the Timberwolves is whether or not they should trade Karl-Anthony Towns.

Towns was arguably the biggest factor behind the team’s loss in the Conference Finals, but we have to remember that he is still not quite 100% after his meniscus injury.

The team is currently over the cap, so moving on from Towns will be very risky as the team cannot do a sign-and-trade or take in a bigger cap hit than they offload.

They can only trade Towns for other players of his caliber currently on the trade market, and none of them fit the team’s playing style quite like Towns does.

Ultimately, moving on from Towns would be an even riskier decision than keeping him, and the Wolves would be wise to give him another chance.

2024 NBA Finals Preview

No. 1 Celtics vs. No. 5 Mavericks

Here we go! Most of us expected the Celtics to make it all the way to the Finals before the season even began. But the Mavericks had the seventh-highest odds among Western teams during the preseason.

The Nuggets, Suns, Warriors, Lakers, Clippers, and Grizzlies all had better odds than the Mavericks.

Two of those six teams missed the playoffs, and three went out in the first round. Team GM Nico Harrison deserves all the plaudits for his brilliant trades this season.

The Celtics obviously have the advantage in terms of overall team talent and especially coaching. Jason Kidd is still not a respected head coach, while Joe Mazzulla has won 73.8% of his regular season games.

Former Maverick Kristaps Porzingis might not be available for a while due to his injury, but we all know that Luka Doncic is banged up as well. Had Doncic played in a super-talented team like Boston, he probably would have been rested until the Finals.

If the Mavs want to win, the Celtics’ bad playoff habits must reoccur. They have to be opportunistic and take advantage of every missed shot and turnover.

Doing this and winning an NBA championship over the favored Celtics would be an incredible accomplishment. But the Celtics are simply the better and fresher team all around (even if Porzingis doesn’t play at all).

The Mavericks had a great run, but they must hope for a miracle to get past this Celtics team.

Verdict: Celtics win 4-2




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