Why the Dallas Mavericks Will Reach the 2024 NBA Finals


  • The Mavericks outlasted a tough Western Conference competition thanks to their big duo of Dončić and Irving.
  • Dallas’s stingy defense was crucial in reaching the Conference Finals by holding opponents to low scores.
  • P.J. Washington’s offensive contributions and Dončić’s dominance, despite a knee issue, will be key in this series.

The 2023-24 NBA season was a tale of two conferences. While the East and West were both competitive, featuring no shortage of star power and talented squads, the Western Conference was certainly the more cutthroat and competitive of the two.

While the East featured the league’s top seed, the Boston Celtics, the West featured a number of competitive teams. In fact, every team to make it into the playoffs (including the Play-In Tournament) in the West was at least ten games over .500. That made the Western Conference playoffs an immediate dogfight, where only the hottest and most solidly constructed teams made it out alive.

One of the teams to emerge on top was the Dallas Mavericks. The other was their opponent, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Unlike the Eastern Conference Finals, the Western Conference Finals is much more evenly matched, but only one can emerge victorious. Here is why the Mavericks will defeat the Timberwolves and advance to the 2024 NBA Finals.

Road to the Conference Finals

How the Mavericks got here

Dallas Mavericks Luka Dončić Kyrie Irving PJ Washington

The Mavericks were forced to adapt and survive quickly and early on in the 2023-24 NBA season, as they found themselves smack in the middle of one of the most highly competitive conferences in years. But thanks to their big duo of Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving, who have absolutely thrived together this year and have become one of the league’s top duos, they outlasted.

The Mavericks ended up finishing in the middle of the Western Conference, with a record of 50-32 which was good enough for the fifth seed. That was thanks to the play of Dončić and Irving, as mentioned, but also the Trade Deadline acquisition of P.J. Washington, which has all but solidified their rotation.

In the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Mavericks squared off against a familiar opponent, the Los Angeles Clippers. This time, they got the best of the Clippers as they ousted them in six games.

Next, the Mavericks faced the privilege of taking on the top seed in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite the Thunder having the top seed, however, the Mavericks took it to them, using their playoff experience against the Thunder, who had none coming into this year. Dallas would take four of the last five games of the series to knock off the Thunder in six.

Road to the NBA Finals

How the Mavericks can defeat the Timberwolves

Luka Dončić Kyrie Irving Dallas Mavericks

The Timberwolves will serve as the Mavericks’ greatest challenge so far in the 2024 NBA playoffs. For the Mavericks to overthrow them, they will have to ensure they keep their momentum going.

The duo of Dončić and Irving must keep up the amount of production and consistency they have so far in the postseason. When they are clicking, their offensive creation is extremely hard to stop, and even Minnesota’s elite defense will have trouble in that regard.

But the Mavericks’ offense was not the only portion of their game that propelled them to the Conference Finals. Their defense and role players played critical parts in ensuring Dallas’ many wins.

In the final 20 games of the regular season, the Mavericks had the stingiest defense in the league, and that trend has continued into the playoffs, where they have held opponents to 101 or fewer points in six of their eight playoff wins. That defense will also be the key to the Mavericks toppling the T’Wolves.

The Mavericks are also deeper than just Dončić and Irving. The Thunder spent most of their defensive resources limiting those guys, and for Irving, it did work, as his production as a scorer was limited. Irving will have to increase his scoring in this series if Dallas wishes to get past Minnesota, and all signs are that he will.

But where Irving and Dončić were covered, P.J. Washington buried them. Washington’s game in the last series became the corner three, and that is where the Thunder were buried. Whether or not he can keep up his hot streak remains to be seen, but he has become a critical component of the Mavericks’ offense. And if he continues that, the Mavericks will be in good shape.

Dončić has been playing through a knee issue this playoffs, and it has slowed him down a bit. In the Mavericks’ last series against the Thunder, however, he still averaged a double-double and nearly a triple-double per game, averaging 24.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 8.7 assists in that span.

It goes without saying that even a compromised Dončić is an extremely dangerous player. The Thunder are no strangers to elite defense, as they threw everything they had at him and still were not able to contain him. The T’Wolves have much better defense than the Thunder, but as long as Dončić is the best player on the court — and he will need to be for the Mavericks to win the series — his team is in good shape.

The Mavericks wrapped up their series against Oklahoma City earlier than the Timberwolves wrapped up their series (which went seven), giving Dončić more time to rest the knee. That, without question, plays in Dallas’ favor.

The Timberwolves have proven that there is little use in attempting to limit their offensive production, so the best thing the Mavericks can do is to hold them off and outlast them. If any team is equipped to do that, it is indeed the Mavericks, and it is why they are equipped to reach the 2024 NBA Finals.


Why the Minnesota Timberwolves Will Reach the 2024 NBA Finals

The Minnesota Timberwolves are just one round away from reaching the NBA Finals – here’s what they need to do to get there.

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