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Doncic, Irving put Mavericks on verge of NBA Finals

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have scored 33 points apiece and the Dallas Mavericks made all the big plays late to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-107 for a 3-0 lead in the NBA Western Conference finals.

The Mavericks closed Sunday's home game with a 12-3 run, claiming a fifth playoff game win after rookie centre Dereck Lively II left with a sprained neck after taking an accidental shot to the back of the head from Karl-Anthony Towns' knee.

No team in NBA playoff history has rallied from 3-0 down.

Game 4 is Tuesday night in Dallas, with the Mavericks well on course to advance to the NBA Finals, where a clash with the league-topping Boston Celtics appears likely. The Celtics lead the Eastern Conference finals 3-0 against the Indiana Pacers ahead of Game 4 on Monday.

P.J. Washington started Sunday's decisive Dallas run with a corner 3-pointer after Doncic passed to Irving, who sent the ball to Washington.

The co-stars took over from there.

Doncic hit a shot in the lane for a four-point lead, Irving sent the crowd into a frenzy with on a falling-down jumper and Doncic found Daniel Gafford for an alley-oop dunk and a 113-105 lead with 34 seconds left after Gafford blocked Mike Conley's layup attempt at the other end.

Australia's Josh Green played 25 minutes off the bench for the Mavs, contributing three points, two rebounds and two assists.

Green
Australian Josh Green (l) got substantial court time off the bench for the Mavericks. (AP PHOTO)

Anthony Edwards had 26 points for the Wolves, but just four after scoring eight consecutive points for Minnesota to get the Wolves even in the third quarter.

Towns scored 14 points but missed all eight 3s, including one when the deficit was four with 1:25 remaining.

Doncic, whose game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds of Game 2 in Minnesota put Dallas firmly in control of the series, was 10 of 20 and 5 of 11 from deep.

Irving made 12 of 20 and 3 of 6 from long range to get the Mavs within a victory of their first trip to the NBA Finals since 2011, when they won the franchise's only championship.

In the second quarter, Lively absorbed the kind of contact normally found on football fields not far from Kansas City Chiefs stars Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, the quarterback-tight end pair sitting courtside.

The rookie from Duke stayed on the court holding his head after it snapped forward on the accidental contact. Lively was down for several minutes before appearing dazed as he was helped off the court and taken to the locker room.