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  • NYK Shooting Guard #18
    Alec Burks finished Tuesday’s 121-91 win over the Pacers with 18 points (6-of-11 FGs, 1-of-2 FTs), five rebounds, and five 3-pointers in 23 minutes.
    Injuries have thrust Burks into the Knicks’ rotation, and the veteran wing has taken advantage of his opportunity. He’s scored at least 14 points in each of the series’ last three games, giving New York much-needed production. While Burks scoring 20 points in Sunday’s Game 4 defeat did not matter much, that wasn’t the case in Game 5. The Knicks effectively run a seven-man rotation, so Burks won’t lack playing time or opportunities to shine. He’s shown that there’s still something left in the tank.
  • MIN Point Guard #10
    Mike Conley accumulated 18 points (7-of-14 FGs, 2-of-3 FTs), five rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block, and two 3-pointers in 33 minutes in Friday’s 109-108 loss to Dallas.
    Conley has played 31 minutes or more in four straight games since missing Game 5 of Minnesota’s second-round series with Denver with a strained right soleus muscle. However, his offensive impact was limited before Friday night. The 18 points are the most Conley has scored in a game since Game 2 of Minnesota’s four-game sweep of the Suns. And his production on Friday was one reason why the Timberwolves had a chance to win despite Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns continuing to struggle. Conley hasn’t suffered a setback regarding his calf injury, which has been one of the few positives for Minnesota in the conference finals. Game 3 is on Sunday in Dallas, with the Mavericks holding a 2-0 lead.
  • MIN Center #27
    Rudy Gobert logged 37 minutes in Friday’s 109-108 loss to the Mavericks, recording a line of 16 points (6-of-10 FGs, 4-of-6 FTs), 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one blocked shot.
    Much will be made of Gobert switching onto Luka Doncic for the Mavericks’ guard’s game-winning 3-pointer, but one could argue that the Defensive Player of the Year should not have been in that position. And Gobert’s play has been the least of Minnesota’s concerns, as Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns continue to struggle offensively. After shooting 6-of-20 from the field in Game 1, KAT was even worse in Game 2, going 4-of-16 and finishing with 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one 3-pointer. Regardless of what Gobert does (or doesn’t do), the Timberwolves will find it challenging to turn this series around if Towns doesn’t improve his play.
  • MIN Shooting Guard #5
    Anthony Edwards played 40 minutes in Friday’s 109-108 loss to the Mavericks, tallying 21 points (5-of-17 FGs, 9-of-10 FTs), five rebounds, seven assists, one block, and two 3-pointers.
    Edwards is in a slump at the worst possible time, shooting 18-of-57 from the field in his last three games. While the first of this downturn in production was Minnesota’s Game 7 victory over Denver, his inefficiency has been problematic against Dallas. His saving grace in Game 2 was the foul line, with Ant-Man making nine of his 10 attempts. While Edwards has undoubtedly looked ready for the bright lights numerous times, there’s still room for growth. The first two games of the Western Conference Finals have been a painful reminder for him and the Timberwolves. Game 2 is on Sunday in Dallas.
  • MIN Center #11
    Naz Reid shot 8-of-13 from the field in Friday’s 109-108 loss to the Mavericks, accounting for 23 points, two rebounds, two steals, one block, and seven 3-pointers in 32 minutes.
    With Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns again struggling, Reid was the Timberwolves player who upped his production in Game 2. The NBA Sixth Man of the Year hit seven of his first eight 3-point attempts and had a chance to save the Mavericks in the final seconds. Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, Reid’s final attempt rattled out, and they now head to Dallas in an 0-2 hole. Reid scored 38 points on 59.1% shooting from the field in the first two games, and Minnesota will need similar production in Game 3.
  • DAL Center #21
    Daniel Gafford was excellent in his 21 minutes in Friday’s 109-108 win over Minnesota, amassing 16 points (8-of-10 FGs, 0-of-2 FTs), five rebounds, and five blocked shots.
    Like Game 1, Gafford played fewer minutes than backup Dereck Lively II on Friday. However, that didn’t prevent him from having an impact, especially defensively. Gafford blocked five shots while also shooting 80% from the field, excellently finishing around the basket in the two-man game. As for Lively, he played 27 minutes in Game 2, finishing with 14 points, nine rebounds, and two assists. The rookie did not miss a shot, going 6-of-6 from the field and 2-of-2 from the foul line. Dallas’ big man tag team will look to keep the momentum rolling when they host Game 3 on Sunday.
  • DAL Point Guard #11
    Kyrie Irving logged 39 minutes in Friday’s 109-108 win over Minnesota, accumulating 20 points (7-of-16 FGs, 2-of-5 FTs), four rebounds, six assists, one steal, and four 3-pointers.
    Irving had a tough night at the foul line, but that doesn’t erase the overall contributions. He was especially important during the moments when backcourt sidekick Luka Doncic was laboring through ankle and knee ailments. Irving and Doncic are the biggest reasons why Dallas returns home for Sunday’s Game 3 with a 2-0 series lead. Kyrie has scored 20 points or more in three straight games and is making 48.7% of his attempts from the field against Minnesota.
  • DAL Point Guard #77
    Luka Doncic shot 10-of-23 from the field and 7-of-7 from the foul line in Friday’s 109-108 win over Minnesota, scoring 32 points with 10 rebounds, 13 assists, and five 3-pointers in 41 minutes.
    Doncic isn’t playing at full strength, as he has been dealing with ankle and knee issues. Despite making multiple trips to the locker room during Game 2, the All-NBA guard saved his best for last. Doncic hit a step-back 3-pointer over Rudy Gobert with 3.0 seconds remaining to give Dallas a one-point lead and eventually the win. Luka has recorded four triple-doubles this postseason, and the Mavericks are two wins away from the NBA Finals. Game 4 is on Sunday night, and while Doncic is likely to appear on the injury report, look for him to take on his usual workload.
  • MIN Point Guard #10
    Mike Conley (right soleus strain) is available for Friday’s game against the Mavericks.
    After playing 31 minutes in Wednesday’s series-opening defeat, Conley is available for Game 2. The Timberwolves will stick with their usual starting lineup; Conley is joined by Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Rudy Gobert.
  • DAL Point Guard #77
    Luka Doncic (left ankle soreness, right knee sprain) is available for Friday’s game against the Timberwolves.
    As expected, Doncic is good to go after the Mavericks listed him as probable on the initial injury report. Unless Game 2 gets out of hand in either direction, he should play at least 40 minutes on Friday.
  • IND Point Guard #0
    Tyrese Haliburton (left hamstring soreness) is questionable for Saturday’s game against the Celtics.
    Haliburton, limited by an injury to the same hamstring earlier this season, exited Thursday’s Game 2 defeat during the fourth quarter. While the injury being a case of soreness instead of a strain is good news, there’s no guarantee the All-NBA point guard will play on Saturday. Andrew Nembhard (who’s already a starter), T.J. McConnell, and Ben Sheppard would all be required to do more if Haliburton cannot play. And the Pacers are already in an 0-2 hole, so losing Haliburton could end their hopes of turning things around.