The Dallas Mavericks have jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals over the Minnesota Timberwolves. After earning a competitive Game 1 victory, Dallas narrowly defeated Minnesota in Game 2 on Friday by a final score of 109-108. A late Luka Doncic three-pointer ultimately sealed the win for the Mavs.

The Timberwolves were initially the favorite heading into the series. Yet, the Mavs have looked like the better team so far. Of course, Dallas only won Game 1 by three points and Game 2 by one point. Nevertheless, the Mavericks are finding ways to get the job done.

So how exactly have the Mavs upset the Timberwolves to open the Western Conference Finals?

Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves stars struggling

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) reacts in the third quarter against the Dallas Mavericks during game two of the western conference finals for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Target Center.
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Edwards has yet to find his groove in the series. He has looked exhausted at times as well. At just 22 years old, Edwards has never played this deep into the playoffs.

His future is bright to say the least, but right now Edwards does not look like himself. He could still bounce back in the series, of course.

Karl-Anthony Towns has had some big moments. He also has not played all that well, however. Edwards and Towns are the best players on the Timberwolves but it was Naz Reid who stepped up in Game 2.

And then there is Rudy Gobert. Gobert, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, has made some impressive plays on both ends of the floor. Still, he's had some questionable moments as well.

You have likely heard the broadcasters talk about “drop coverage” during the first two games of the series. It's been an often discussed topic. And in all reality this isn't Gobert's fault, but it is just how the Timberwolves play defense.

When Gobert drops in the coverage, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are left with a plethora of options. Driving to the basket and contesting Gobert is obviously a challenge. But the Mavs stars can either pull up for a mid-range jump-shot, find Dereck Lively II or Daniel Gafford for a lob, or kick it out for a three-point attempt.

The Timberwolves have a great defense, but the matchup has benefitted the Mavericks up to this point.

Dereck Lively II, Daniel Gafford impacting winning for Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) dunks in the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves during game two of the western conference finals for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Target Center.
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Lively and Gafford combined for 30 points in Game 2. Gafford added five blocks, while the duo also combined for 14 rebounds.

Lively is averaging 11.5 points and 10 rebounds through the first two games of the Western Conference Finals. The 20-year-old has played an impressive brand of basketball in his first postseason, and that has continued into this series.

Gafford, meanwhile, is averaging 13 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in the series.

Gafford and Lively consistently sub in and out for one another throughout the game. They don't play together on the floor like Gobert and Towns, but the strategy works nonetheless. Both players are impacting winning.

Luka Doncic looks like Luka Doncic

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) and center Dereck Lively II (2) celebrate in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves in game two of the western conference finals for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Target Center.
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Doncic's Western Conference Semifinals numbers looked good on the surface. He averaged 24.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He endured a few rather inconsistent games from the field, though.

The Mavericks needed a more efficient effort from Luka against the Timberwolves and he has answered the call to begin the series.

Doncic, who continues to battle through injury concerns, is averaging 32.5 points, 10.5 assists, and 8.0 rebounds per outing against the Timberwolves. He is also shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from deep.

Additionally, Doncic has played hard on the defensive end of the floor. He's made a number of impactful plays on defense in the series.

Kyrie Irving's contributions cannot be forgotten either. He performed especially well in Game 1. In Game 2, despite not producing attention-catching statistics, Kyrie still helped the Mavericks win.

But the Mavs needed Doncic to find his rhythm and that is exactly what he has done. Now Dallas is set to carry their 2-0 series lead into Game 3 at home.