NBA Playoffs 2024: Mavericks Secure Thrilling Victory to Reach Western Conference Finals

NBA Playoffs 2024 Showdown: The Dallas Mavericks showcased their resilience and determination in a gripping playoff showdown against the Oklahoma City Thunder, securing a thrilling 117-116 victory and punching their ticket to the Western Conference finals.

In the opening forty-plus minutes of their postseason match against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, the Dallas Mavericks led by just one minute.

NBA Playoffs 2024: Mavericks Secure Thrilling Victory to Reach Western Conference Finals

However, the Mavericks overcame a 17-point third-quarter deficit by being smarter and more resilient in the closing minutes than the incredibly skilled Thunder.

After the game, Dallas guard Kyrie Irving remarked, “You get to the point where you have the opportunity to close out a team, you have to take full advantage of it.”

With 2.5 seconds remaining, P.J. Washington converted two free throws, and the Mavericks accomplished just that, defeating the visiting Thunder 117-116 to advance to the Western Conference finals for the second time in the previous three seasons.

In an attempt to deny a Thunder team out of timeouts the opportunity to set up for a go-ahead shot, Washington intentionally missed the third free throw after being fouled while hitting a 3-pointer. In Game 6 of a second-round playoff series, top-seeded Oklahoma City was eliminated, as Jalen Williams missed a 64-footer with time running out.

In the conference finals, the Mavericks will play the Denver Nuggets or the Minnesota Timberwolves.

For the fifth-seeded Mavericks, Luka Doncic scored 29 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists. Daniel Gafford scored ten points, Irving and Derrick Jones Jr. both contributed twenty-two points, and Dereck Lively II had twelve points and fifteen rebounds off the bench.

Regarding his team’s 16-point halftime disadvantage, Doncic remarked, “We said at halftime we weren’t going back to Oklahoma.”

For Oklahoma City, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tallied 36 points and eight assists. Chet Holmgren scored 21 points, while Williams added 22 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.

During his first postseason experience, Gilgeous-Alexander distinguished himself by scoring at least 29 points in each of the series’ games.
However, in the closing seconds, with the Thunder holding a one-point lead, he was called for the foul on Washington.

Also Read: NBA Playoffs 2024: Pacers Dominate Knicks to Force Thrilling Game 7

“I ought not to have tripped him up,” Gilgeous-Alexander declared. “We discuss the small details that contribute to winning games and maintaining discipline over the entire year. It’s awful.

“I wouldn’t have fouled him and would have just let him make or miss the shot if I could go back in time.”

With 2:01 remaining in regulation, Washington made a 3-pointer to give Dallas a 113-110 lead. With 1:11 left, Jones made a turnaround jumper to give the Mavericks a five-point lead.

With 1:05 remaining, Gilgeous-Alexander made a 3-pointer to get Oklahoma City within two.

With 27 seconds remaining, Washington was called for a foul before the ball was inbounded, forcing Gilgeous-Alexander to the line for a single free throw. With 20.4 seconds remaining, the Thunder maintained possession as Gilgeous-Alexander drove the lane and lofted a high pass that Holmgren smashed home for a 116-115 lead.

Soon after, Oklahoma City was on its way home—not to take on the Mavericks in the highly anticipated Game 7 as originally planned.

NBA Playoffs 2024: Mavericks Secure Thrilling Victory to Reach Western Conference Finals

Coach Mark Daigenault of the Thunder stated, “Clearly our roster was good enough this year to win a lot of games and be the No. 1 seed in a really tough conference.” It’s obviously painful. We believed we had an opportunity to accomplish something exceptional.

Oklahoma City made 47.8% of their field goals, with 15 of 41 (36.6%) coming from three-point range. For the Thunder, Isaiah Joe and Lu Dort both scored eleven points.
The Mavericks made 16 of 34 (47.1%) of their shots from behind the arc and hit on 51.2 percent of them overall.

With 6:30 remaining in the game, Dallas leveled the score at 97 thanks to a dunk by Lively, capping a 7-0 run that saw the Thunder lead by as many as 17 points in the third quarter.

With 4:44 remaining, Gilgeous-Alexander drained an 18-footer to give the Thunder a 105-101 lead. The Mavericks responded with six points in a row.
Later, with 2:47 remaining, a jumper by Gilgeous-Alexander for Oklahoma City tied the game at 110.

With 4:54 remaining in the first half, Doncic made a 3-pointer to give Dallas a 42-40 lead. The Mavericks’ lead held true for precisely one minute, and it persisted until the end of the game. For the remainder of the second quarter, the Thunder outscored Dallas 24-6, taking a 64-48 lead into halftime.

After Holmgren’s shot with 8:25 remaining in the third quarter, Oklahoma City was up 77-60. Dallas then started to rally, scoring 13 points in a row.

Irving remarked, “You don’t want to be down 17 in a closeout game.” But that’s where we came to be. We have to react as we have been responding throughout the season.

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Mavericks in five games in the 2022 Western Conference Finals.

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