1. Wolves needed one last three from Naz, and they didn't get it

On a night when their stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards combined to shoot 9-for-33, Timberwolves Sixth Man of the Year Naz Reid made eight of his 13 shots.

Oh, and seven three-pointers. But on a night when the Wolves needed an eighth, his shot at a buzzer-beating three rimmed out in a crushing, last-second loss 109-108 to Dallas Friday night at Target Center.

Dallas first-team All NBA guard Luka Doncic's only basket in the fourth quarter was a step-back, three-point winner over Wolves big man Rudy Gobert with three seconds remaining after the Wolves led 108-106. Doncic finished with a 32-point, 13-assist, 10-rebound triple-double.

With Towns on the bench, the Wolves twice looked to Reid to win it for them in the final 13 seconds, but Edwards threw a pass away looking for Reid, which set up Doncic's winner.

2. Mavs trades proving the difference

The Mavericks transformed their athleticism, rim protection and their team with trade-deadline moves that brought them bouncy center Daniel Gafford and stretch power forward P.J. Washington. At the same time, rookie Dereck Lively II began to live up to his surname as the season progressed.

In Friday's victory, Gafford and Lively combined to shoot 14-for-16 for 30 points — Gafford 16, Lively 14 — on a Friday night when they, not Doncic or Irving, sent the Mavericks home to Dallas with a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference final.

"On championship teams, the right pieces fit," Dallas coach Jason Kidd said before Friday's game. "Sometimes it's like a No. 1 pick: Sometimes it hits, sometimes it doesn't. That's what makes sports fun: Put the pieces of the puzzle together. Sometimes, they fit. Sometimes everyone thinks they will fit, but it goes the other way."

3. Is there's a better way to defend a Doncic?

TNT's studio crew — out of the studio and in Minnesota for these first two games — approved the Game 2 adjustments Wolves coach Chris Finch did, particularly analyst Kenny Smith. The Wolves double-teamed Doncic much more often than they did in Game 1.

The Wolves doubled to get the ball out of Doncic's hands, but had one of the defenders — Reid and Kyle Anderson often — then drop down to defend the paint and the rim.

4. Waiting for Gobert

The Wolves waited a season for Towns and Gobert to get healthy and learn to play with each other.

So did the Mavericks' Doncic-Irving backcourt.

They combined for 63 points in Game 1. In Game 2, Doncic carried them both with that triple-double while Irving had 20 points.

"I think some people give up too soon, you know," Irving said Friday morning, "Obviously you can have a three-year run, a four year-run. But I think people give up too soon in the first year or two years to try and put pressure on guys to be very successful right away."

5. Where did that three game 20-point scoring streak go?

After three consecutive 20-point games, Wolves best defender Jaden McDaniels missed his first five shots — including 0-for-3 on threes — and didn't make a shot until midway through the third quarter.

He finished 1-for-6 for two points and no three-pointers made.

6. Let's get ready to rumble …

Gobert and Doncic stared each other down during a confrontation when Gobert reached in to steal the ball from Doncic. He committed a hard foul, to which Doncic took exception.

What do you think the Tale of the Tape would be for a bout like that? We'll take Gobert's reach for starters.

7. What a way to start a game …

One day after Finch criticized his team for its performance, attitude and attention to detail in Game 1, the Wolves needed just 34 seconds to show they must not have listened a bit.

They were forced to call a timeout after the Mavericks made the game's first basket. Conley fetched it bouncing under the basket, but his other four teammates all turned their backs and ran to the court's opposite end.

With no one there to catch the in-bound pass, Conley had to call a very early timeout.

8. Remembering George Floyd a day before May 25

Fans stood for a moment of silence before the game to remember George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer four years ago on Saturday. His image was shown on the overhead scoreboard during the pause, and several of Floyd's family members were in attendance.

9. Bringing back Timberwolves from yesteryear

Wolves alumni sightings: Original Timberwolf Doug West from that first 1989-90 team, former Trail Blazer/Wolf Terry Porter and former first-round draft pick John Thomas, a member of the Gophers' 1997 Final Four team. Hockey Hall of Famer and former North Stars No. 1 overall draft pick Mike Modano. Former NBA No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden (2007, an Ohio State teammate with Conley). Local hip-hop artist Atmosphere. And of course, Wolves minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez as majority owner Glen Taylor sat courtside — on opposite sides — as well.

10. Fans win free chicken but go home one-point losers.

The sellout announced 19,363 got fried-chicken sandwiches coming to them after the opponent — Irving, of all players — missed consecutive free throws in the fourth quarter. Irving missed both with 1:44 left and the Wolves leading 106-103, then came back 40 seconds later and made a stone-cold three with 1:05 left that got his team within 108-106.