The Minnesota Timberwolves came out ready to play in Game 2. After a crushing Game 1 loss, it was clear the Timberwolves had their eyes set on evening up the series. At one point, Minnesota held a convincing 18-point lead in front of their raucous home crowd. Everything was going the Wolves' way until Luka Doncic made his presence felt. The Dallas Maverickssuperstar eviscerated Minnesota’s star-studded defense and willed the Mavs back into the ball game.

After a few costly decisions down the stretch, Dallas had possession of the rock down by two. Doncic flared up near halfcourt to get the ball. After a Dereck Lively screen, the Timberwolves shockingly switched. With the game on the line, Chris Finch and the Wolves’ coaching staff let Rudy Gobert, their center, try to defend the world’s best perimeter offensive player with the game on the line. Unsurprisingly, the Mavericks’ 25-year old superstar canned a step back three in Gobert’s grill.

Doncic’s latest game-winner falls into his collection of unreal clutch moments. The Slovenian star’s big shot pushed him to a game-high 32 points. His scoring was matched with 13 assists and 10 rebounds giving Luka yet another 30+ point triple double. After the devastating game winner, Rudy Gobert shared his disappointment.

Rudy Gobert feels he let the Timberwolves down

The four-time Defensive Player of the Year praised Doncic’s clutch shot while also taking ownership for the team’s loss.

“We switched on the pick and roll. I was in iso with Luka and he hit, he hit a big time shot. You know, I let my team down on that last play.”

Gobert continued on to explain why he felt that he let his team down in that situation.

“The team believed in me to get a stop and he scored. And he scored a three which is something that he does really well. Definitely taking the responsibility to be better in that situation.”

After the clutch go-ahead bucket, the Mavs’ star let Gobert hear about it, too. With the Timberwolves up by just two points and the game on the line, it’s easy to critique Gobert for allowing Doncic to get a three-point shot up. However, defending a point guard of Luka’s caliber in isolation is a tough ask for anyone, but especially so for a center.

Coaching decision in the clutch

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves during game two of the western conference finals for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Target Center.
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

While Doncic deserves the praise, Gobert shouldn’t catch all of the criticism he likely will. Instead, the coaching staff’s decision to full-switch out in space with the game on line should be turning heads. Not only does switching pull 2nd-Team All-Defense wing Jaden McDaniels off of Doncic, it puts Gobert in a situation that many would consider advantageous for Dallas.

Not only did Minnesota switch their center out in space, they left him on an island. With the game on the line, the Timberwolves needed to make someone else beat them. Prior to Luka’s game-winning three, he and Kyrie Irving were a combined 8-17 on triples in Game 2. The other three Mavericks on the floor – Lively, Derrick Jones Jr., and PJ Washington — were a combined 0-7 from three. The Timberwolves could have safely sent another body at Doncic to force him to get off the ball. As long as they don’t leave Irving all alone, Minnesota should have been willing to live with DJJ or Washington trying to beat them, something they both have failed to do the first two games of the series.

After the crushing Game 2 defeat at home, Minnesota now must go on the road in a huge hole. With aspirations to save their season, Games 3 and 4 will be a tough environment. The Mavericks’ faithful will be loud and proud at the American Airlines Center. Not only do Anthony Edwards, Rudy Gobert and company have to step up, but Minnesota’s coaching staff has to make some adjustments and do so quickly.