5 Reasons the Mavericks will destroy Timberwolves in Conference Finals

Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving
Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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4. Luka Doncic looked like totally a different player by the end of the Thunder series

It would be easy to pull out the phonebook of excuses as to why Luka Doncic hasn't had as dominant of a playoffs as he would've hoped for, as the 25-year-old Slovenian superstar has dealt with an illness, sprained knee, and multiple other minor injuries since the playoffs began. This has clearly been something that has irritated Doncic both physically as well as mentally, as Doncic hasn't looked like he's having nearly as much fun on the court in these playoffs, oftentimes laboring through pain up and down the court or complaining to referees in regard to a missed call.

Doncic has still been putting up gaudy stats in the playoffs despite all of this though, as his presence alone almost guarantees a triple-double. It has been evident that Doncic has been far less efficient this postseason from a shooting perspective though, and his frustration has led to some untimely and uncharacteristic turnovers throughout both of Dallas' series versus the Oklahoma City Thunder and LA Clippers.

Doncic is burdening a heavy workload through all of this as well, as he averaged well over 40 minutes played per game in both of Dallas' playoff series thus far. However, in Dallas' last two games against the Thunder in the Conference Semifinals, it was clear that Doncic not only found his groove shooting the ball, but he looked drastically improved in terms of his attitude and mentality on the court.

Doncic's last two games against the Thunder was more emblematic of the MVP-caliber player that we saw during the regular season, as he was pushing the pace of the Mavericks' offense and was extremely persistent about getting to his spots on all three levels. Doncic also looked like he was enjoying the game more, likely putting less mental constraint on himself to perform well through injury.

Doncic rekindling his level of play that we saw from him during the regular season should be a scary sight for Timberwolves fans, as he may just be starting to hit his stride in these playoffs as Dallas is on the precipice of the NBA Finals. However, it's unknown whether Doncic can sustain this level of mental fortitude and concentration, as the status of some of his minor injuries don't be appearing to heal soon enough.

Doncic's level of play could easily make or break how good of chance the Mavericks have at advancing to the NBA Finals, but it's almost certain that Minnesota is in for a long series if Doncic performs at the level that we know he's capable of when he's fully healthy.