1. Wolves hold off elimination, force Game 5 Thursday at home

Knocked down in the fourth quarter of their first three Western Conference final games against Dallas, the Timberwolves star tag-team struck back in Tuesday's Game 4, 105-100 victory at Dallas.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards outscored Mavericks stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving 54-44 on a night they held off elimination for the third time in these playoffs.

Towns and Edwards combined to score 13 points down the stretch before Towns fouled out late in the game.

Edwards approached a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Towns scored 20 of his 25 points after halftime, including back-to-back three pointers as he shot 9-for-13. He was especially lethal from deep, where he made 4 of 5 three-pointers after going 0-for-8 in Game 3.

"I ain't never been swept in my career," Edwards told TNT afterward. "I took it personally. I definitely didn't want to get swept, especially not on their court, hearing they're fans talk trash all night."

2. Sometimes it snows in ... May?

During the second quarter, TNT analyst Charles Barkley hoped for a four-game Dallas sweep because he didn't want to return to Minnesota for a Game 5.

"It's snowing in Minnesota," he said.

It wasn't snowing. It was 62 degrees and partly cloudy.

Barkley said he'd seen on social media that it was snowing in Minnesota. It was actually cottonwood trees doing what they do this time of year.

When the crew cut to their "Shaqtin a Fool" segment, Kenny Smith mockingly said, "It's not snowing in Minnesota," to which Shaq replied, "But it's still cold."

Everybody is going back to Target Center for another game. Barkley said he would have to buy a new suit if the series extended to five games.

3. Doncic takes the blame

Doncic took the blame for his 7-for-21 shooting night and 28-point game that lacked just one or two clutch shots.

"That game is on me," he said afterward. " I didn't bring enough energy, I have do better."

But Doncic hit a memorable three-pointer as Dallas tried to rally in the game's closing minutes, even if he missed a free throw that would have made it a four-point play.

4. Mavs miss one Lively player, get another back in the lineup

Dallas played without rookie center Dereck Lively II, who had made such an impact with his athleticism and rim protection. But they got shooting big man Maxi Kleber, who hadn't played in 25 days because of a shoulder injury sustained in the first round against the Clippers.

Lively left Sunday's second quarter wobbly after he fell in the paint and took Towns' knee in the back of his head as Towns also came down seeking the ball. He was diagnosed with a neck sprain from the collision. Until then, he was perfect from the field in the series' first two-plus games, 13-for-13.

Veteran Dwight Powell was first man off the Mavs' bench about four minutes into the game. Kleber made his first appearance late in the first quarter and played 13-plus minutes.

5. Finch feeling good enough to get a 'T'

Wolves coach Chris Finch was up Tuesday and more active during timeouts from his seat in the second row behind his team's bench. He drew up plays in timeout huddles, engaged with officials and even drew a technical foul for arguing Towns fifth foul in the third quarter.

Finch did so with a limp but without the crutches he has used since his own Mike Conley inadvertently collided with him on the bench during the final game of a first-round sweep of Phoenix. He needed surgery to repair an injured knee.

6. Turnovers nearly turned it

The Wolves avoided the sweep and avoided just enough dumb, forced passes and too many silly fouls and turnovers, including a potential four-point play in which Doncic missed the free throw in the final seconds.

Towns found himself sitting the second quarter's final four minutes after being called for reaching over the back for this third personal foul, then got in foul trouble again with his fourth and fifth fouls before he fouled out.

The Wolves led in rebounds (40-38) and points in the paint (46-36), but they were outdone 30-15 by the Mavs in points off turnovers, including 20 in the first half.

7. Big team goes small in Game 4

When Towns went to the bench late in the second quarter, the Wolves briefly went without a lineup that had neither point guard Mike Conley and frequent ball handler Edwards, who along with Rudy Gobert also had three fouls.

Instead, they had this lineup: Kyle Anderson, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Naz Reid, Jaden McDaniels and Gobert. Conley soon came back in when Gobert and Edwards both went to bench with their third fouls, too.

8. KAT on Walton

Wolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns said he "felt hurt" when he heard Monday that Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer and unconventional television analyst Bill Walton died from cancer. They last talked at All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis in February. "He always has such a big personality, I think everyone knows," Towns said Tuesday morning. "It's definitely a sad day in the NBA. Sad day for the fraternity to lose not only such an amazing player, but someone who has contributed so much to our game. Such an amazing person who brought a bright spot to a lot of people's lives."

9. Unplugged off the court

Wolves teammate Jaylen Clark — who, like Walton, played at UCLA — broke Towns the news because Towns isn't connected on social media anymore.

"Long time ago, I think when I came back from injury," said Towns, who returned from knee surgery for the regular season's final two games. "I got people who take care of that."

10. Mavericks' Kidd and Irving share more than a love for the game

They're both point guards who played the game in their own times with special vision and skill. Irving has won one NBA title with Cleveland in 2016, his head coach Jason Kidd won one as a player with Dallas in 2011 and as an assistant coach with the Lakers in 2020.

And they share a birthday on March 23, although Kidd was born in 1973 in San Francisco while Irving was born in 1992 in Melbourne, Australia. Kidd is 51, Irving 32.

"We celebrate his birthday first, not mine," Kidd said. "He's a little bit younger than I am and his skill set is a lot higher than mine. We both love the game of basketball and we want to be great, as players and now as a coach. We're able to talk the truth to one another."

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.