Girald Gaston

When it mattered the most, the fellows from Texas just showed that this ain’t their first rodeo.

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images.

Fueled by the duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, the Dallas Mavericks mounted a relentless comeback against the Oklahoma City Thunder, sealing a 117-116 victory to advance to the NBA Western Conference Finals, Saturday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

Facing a daunting 17-point deficit, the Mavericks maintained its poise and composure in the second half as they patiently chipped away, and outmaneuvered the less seasoned Thunder team to mark a return to the Conference Finals for the second time in three years.

Luka Doncic flaunted yet another all-around game, notching 29 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists triple double on efficient 9-for-15 shooting, and his backcourt partner Kyrie Irving added 22 points, 18 of which came from the second half surge, leading the Mavericks’ furious rally.

“It’s me and Kai (Kyrie Irving) who started that, but the whole team (is) amazing, amazing comeback, amazing effort,” the 25-year-old superstar said. “Can’t describe it man. Him (PJ Washington Jr.) and DJones (Derrick Jones Jr.), those are dogs,” Doncic added.

Every Batman needs its Robin, and the dynamic duo found crucial support in its 3-and-D wings in PJ Washington Jr. and Derrick Jones Jr., emerging as unsung heroes with clutch baskets down the stretch to pounce the top-seeded squad.

With the game tied at 110, a Thunder double team prompted Doncic to kick the ball out to Washington who drained a clutch three-pointer, and Jones bailed out the Mavericks on the next possession with a fadeaway jumper, securing a 115-110 cushion with 1:11 left.

The Thunder delivered a last hurrah, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sinking a stepback three-pointer and a technical free throw following an away from the play foul by Washington, while Chet Holmgren delivered an alley-oop dunk to regain the lead, 116-115 with 20 ticks left.

With impeccable on-court awareness, the European phenom once more placed his trust in his teammate, passing the ball to the corner pocket where Washington drew a crucial foul against SGA, ultimately sealing the Thunder's fate with two out of three from the charities, 117-116.

The Mavericks— in a subtle yet consistent pattern—replicated their playoff success against both the Clippers and Thunder by following a familiar trend: losing the opening game, securing victories in the following two matchups, experiencing defeat in game four, and ultimately rallying to win the last two games, clinching the series.

On the flip side, Gilgeous-Alexander capped off his MVP-caliber season with game-high 36 points and eight dimes, while Jalen Williams flirted with a triple double with 22 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists but the valiant effort wasn't enough to get their young squad over the hump.

Dallas will now await the outcome of the Game 7 showdown between the defending champions Denver Nuggets and the up-and-coming Minnesota Timberwolves, scheduled to square off Sunday at the Mile High City.

“We’re gonna go against hard teams. Denver and Minnesota, we’re gonna watch the game seven of that and just be ready for the next team,” Doncic concluded.