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What's at stake in Game 5 of West Finals?


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This article was pulled from our Starting 5 Newsletter, a daily look at all things NBA. To get the newsletter in your inbox every morning, subscribe here.

No team has ever won a best-of-seven series after trailing 3-0.

In NBA history, 155 teams have tried … and 155 have fallen short. The Wolves are team No. 156.

Minnesota, however, became just the 61st club of those 156 teams to avoid a sweep by winning Game 4 in Dallas. Now, they head home with a chance to beat the odds again in Game 5 (8:30 ET, TNT).

15 of 60: Of the 60 prior teams to win Game 4 when trailing 3-0 in the series, 15 (25%) have won Game 54 of 15: Four of those 15 teams (26.7%) won Game 5 at home4 of 35: 35 prior teams have gone down 3-0 in the Conference Finals, and only four (11.4%) have forced a Game 6

Minnesota's defensive pressure on the perimeter and the play of Karl-Anthony Towns could shape Game 5.

Wolves Against The Wall: Minnesota is 3-0 in elimination games this postseason, with wins in Games 6 and 7 against Denver plus Tuesday’s victory in Dallas — and their defense excels with their season on the line.

In those three elimination games, Minnesota has posted a 90.4 defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) compared to their 114.6 defensive rating in every other game this postseasonAgainst Denver: The Wolves held Denver to 79 ppg in their two elimination games – 26.6 points below their Playoff average entering the contests (106.6)Against Dallas in Game 4: The Wolves held the Mavs to 100 points – 7.4 points below their Playoff average entering the contest (107.4)Home Stand: The last time Minnesota faced elimination at home (Game 6 vs. Denver), the Wolves won 115-70 – the largest winning margin in a Playoff game since 2015

Historic Hurdle: Minnesota’s already achieved a feat no other team has, as they handed Kyrie Irving his first career loss in a potential closeout game (14-1), and the Mavs know they’ll have to match the Wolves’ intensity to close them out.

🗣️ Mavs Coach Jason Kidd: “We put ourselves in a position to win the game… but you got to give Minnesota credit, they came out and fought and found a way to win.”🗣️ Luka: “That game is on me. I just didn’t give enough energy. They won one game, we just need to focus on the next one.”🗣️ Kyrie: “It’s a new space. Now we just gotta deal with this loss and get ready for Minnesota and enjoy that ride there because it’s going to be hostile.”

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