DALLAS (AP) — A 15-minute rain delay in an arena before the game, another interruption during a tedious and wild finish for teams jockeying for playoff position in the Western Conference.
Reggie Bullock must not have minded either wait.
The Dallas guard scored 18 points with a clutch 3-pointer late after missing four games for personal reasons, and the Mavericks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 110-108 on Monday night.
Luka Doncic had 15 points and 10 assists, the final one setting up a 3 by Dorian Finney-Smith from the same right corner where Bullock connected moments later for a five-point lead with 40 seconds left.
Dwight Powell scored 22 points on 8-of-8 shooting as the Mavericks avoided their first three-game losing streak since December and pulled within a game of Utah for the fourth seed in a tight middle-of-the-playoff pack in the West.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 22 points for the Timberwolves, who had a four-game winning streak stopped with just their second loss in 12 games. They missed a chance to pull within a half-game of Dallas for the fifth seed.
“It’s mid- or late March, and we understand what’s at stake,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said. “Minnesota’s a very good team. They’re hot.”
The 15-minute delay at the start came from heavy rain that led to a leak from the rafters above the stands not far from the Minnesota bench.
Almost three hours later, coach Chris Finch stormed off that bench when Patrick Beverley was fouled going up for a 3-pointer and an official ruled it was before the shot. Beverley wasn’t happy, either.
The Timberwolves were down 110-107 when that call came with 6.5 seconds left, and it meant Beverley got just two free throws.
“It was wild, really,” Finch said. “Just looking at the tape, I thought (Beverley) got fouled on the shot. He was clearly in the gather and the turn. I thought for sure that should have been a 3-point shot.”
After missing the first free throw, Beverley missed on purpose and got the rebound when he threw the ball hard off the glass and it skimmed the rim.
Doncic was called for a foul as Beverley went up for a layup, and Dallas disagreed. The Mavericks won the challenge, resulting in a jump ball at midcourt after a lengthy delay for the review.
Towns won the jump and the ball bounced toward the left corner on Minnesota’s offensive end, where Beverley ran it down. Before he could put up a 3 that went in, Doncic fouled him again with 2.5 seconds to go. Beverley made the first before missing the second on purpose again, but the Timberwolves couldn’t secure the loose ball before the clock expired.
“We talked about what we needed to do, and Luka executed the foul out of that jump ball,” Kidd said. “Because if he doesn’t, the way things go, Bev makes the 3.”
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 20 for Dallas while Jalen Brunson and Finney-Smith joined Doncic with 15 apiece. It was the first time since April 4, 1989, that the Mavericks had six players with at least 15 points in a game.
Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards scored 19 points and D’Angelo Russell added 18. … Former Baylor player Taurean Prince scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half, going 3 of 4 from long range.
Mavericks: F Davis Bertans didn’t play after showing up on the injury report earlier in the day with right knee soreness. … Maxi Kleber was 1 for 9 from the field and is 10 of 44 since missing two games with an ankle injury.
The “rain delay” was the second time in less than two months a game in Dallas has been interrupted. The Mavericks’ 107-98 win over Philadelphia on Feb. 4 was delayed 44 minutes because of a rim malfunction.
Water from heavy rain could be seen dripping from the rafters. Arena workers had to dry the area around that bench as players stayed loose by continuing their pregame shooting. The leak stopped after storms moved through the area.
Timberwolves: West-leading Phoenix visits Wednesday. The Suns won the first two meetings and are going for their first season sweep of three or more games against Minnesota since 2010-11.
Mavericks: Houston visits Wednesday. The Mavericks are seeking their first season sweep of the Rockets since consecutive seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Those were Kidd’s final two seasons with Dallas as a player.
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