Dane Mizutani: For the Timberwolves, win over the Mavericks makes the impossible feel possible

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You know the iconic scene from Rocky IV?

When the underdog Rocky Balboa musters up the strength to fight back, landing a counter punch out of the corner that makes the Russian boxer Ivan Drago bleed.

It made the impossible feel possible.

You couldn’t help but sense something similar when the Timberwolves scored a 105-100 win over the Mavericks on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Yes, the Timberwolves still have a very long way to go as they attempt to become the first team in NBA history to overcome an 0-3 series deficit. That said, they have officially taken the first step in that process, instilling some belief in themselves by winning a close game, and perhaps planting a seed of doubt in their opponents.

It took a group effort for the Timberwolves to avoid the sweep in the Western Conference Finals.

Anthony Edwards took control the way like a superstar is supposed to, leading all scorers with 29 points, which included a clutch jumper late in the game that helped extend the lead. Karl-Anthony Towns his way through through foul trouble and put up 25 points in by far his best effort of the series. Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert both leaned on their playoff experience and chipped in with big plays on both ends of the floor. Jaden McDaniels finished in double figures and brought a sense of intensity on defense throughout the game.

As important as those performances were for the Timberwolves, however, the way they beat the Mavericks was the most important thing.

On the brink of elimination, the Timberwolves had yet to prove they can win a close game against the Mavericks.

In Game 1, the Timberwolves led 102-98 with 3 minutes, 37 seconds to play, and the Mavericks closed the game on a 10-3 run to earn a 108-105 win.

In Game 2, the Timberwolves led 108-103 with 1 minute, 29 seconds to play, and the Mavericks closed the game on a 6-0 run to earn a 109-108 win.

In Game 3, the Timberwolves led 104-102 with 5 minutes, 5 seconds to play, and the Mavericks closed the game on a 14-3 run to earn a 116-107 win.

It started to feel like if the Timberwolves were in a close game down the stretch, they were going to find a way to lose.

You almost assumed it was going to happen once again in Game 4. As the score tightened in the final minutes, every Minnesotan from the Twin Cities to the Iron Range was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It never did.

Instead, the Timberwolves flipped the script, pulling away from the Mavericks to keep their playoff run alive. As a result, the Western Conference Finals is headed back to Minnesota for Game 5 on Thursday night at Target Center, and if the Timberwolves can find a way to win, all the pressure will be on the Mavericks moving forward.

Suddenly, the Timberwolves suddenly find themselves back in the thick of a heavyweight fight. They landed their own counter punch out of the corner and proved they can win a close game. They made the impossible feel possible.

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