Mavericks' Luka Doncic takes blame for Game 4 loss to Timberwolves


May 29 (UPI) -- Luka Doncic recorded a 28-point, 15-rebound, 10-assist triple-double, but shouldered the blame for a Dallas Mavericks' loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, citing lack of energy.

"I think that game is on me," Doncic told reporters after the 105-100 loss Tuesday in Dallas. "I just didn't give enough energy. We gotta do better.

"They won one game, we just gotta focus on the next one."

Doncic scored 17 points in the first half. He made just 7 of 21 shots, including a 1 for 5 rate in the fourth quarter.

The Timberwolves, who were down 3-0 and faced playoff elimination in the best-of-seven game series, outshot their foes 52.7% to 42%. They also edged the Mavericks 45.8% to 35% in 3-point percentage and held a 46-36 advantage in points in the paint.

All-Star guard Anthony Edwards, who scored a game-high 29 points, credited forward Karl-Anthony Towns for being the reason the Timberwolves earned the victory.

Towns, who made just 27.8% of his field goals and 13.6% of his 3-pointers through the first three games of the series, made 9 of 13 (69.2%) of his shots and 4 of 5 (80%) of his 3-point attempts en route to 25 points in Game 4. He scored 20 points in the second half.

"Everything came together for him," Edwards said of Towns. "He was super confident. He wasn't worried about any shots previous to the shots he hit [Tuesday]. He played exceptionally well, and he came through big-time.

"He was the reason we won."

Game 4 featured 11 lead changes and was tied 12 times. The Timberwolves and Mavericks exchanged the lead twice through the first two minutes. The Timberwolves then went on a 10-0 surge to take control and carried a 27-20 lead into the second quarter. Edwards scored 14 over the first 12 minutes, while Doncic netted 10 points for the Mavericks.

The Timberwolves outshot the Mavericks 62.5% to 28.6% in the first quarter.

Veteran guard Mike Conley Jr., who scored 10 in the second quarter, started the frame with a 3-pointer. The Mavericks answered with a 9-0 run. They later added an 11-0 surge to snatch back the lead. The score was tied 49-49 at the break.

The Mavericks held momentum early in the third quarter until the Timberwolves supplied a 7-0 run. They led 78-73 to start the fourth.

The game stayed tight throughout the final quarter. Towns then hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions with less than six minutes remaining and the Timberwolves never trailed again.

He scored nine points -- off three-consecutive made 3-pointers -- during a game-clinching 11-2 run.

"It's Game 4, down 3-0," Towns said. "Ain't no time to have any doubts."

Edwards made 11 of 25 shots and logged 10 rebounds and nine assists in the win. Center Rudy Gobert chipped in 13 points and 10 rebounds. Conley scored 14, with seven assists, four steals and three rebounds. Forward Jaden McDaniels scored 10 points for the Timberwolves.

Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving made just 6 of 18 shots and was 1 of 6 from 3-point range. He totaled 16 points in the loss. He told reporters that Doncic "is not alone" in taking the blame for the Mavericks loss.

"I think you heard me, too, just say that it's on me," Irving said. "That's what you're supposed to hear from your leaders of your team."

Game 5 will be at 8:30 p.m. EDT Thursday in Minneapolis. Game 6, if necessary, will be Saturday in Dallas. Game 7, if necessary, will be Monday in Minneapolis.