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Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving each score 33 points as Mavs beat Wolves for 3-0 lead in West finals

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Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving each score 33 points as Mavs beat Wolves for 3-0 lead in West finals
Sport

Sport

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving each score 33 points as Mavs beat Wolves for 3-0 lead in West finals

2024-05-27 12:57 Last Updated At:13:01

DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic lunged for the ball after a steal by Anthony Edwards, knocking it far enough away to create a scramble and a jump ball the Dallas superstar won.

The Mavericks made all the big plays again — on both ends of the court — and are a win away from their first trip to the NBA Finals in 13 years.

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Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) grabs a rebound over Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic lunged for the ball after a steal by Anthony Edwards, knocking it far enough away to create a scramble and a jump ball the Dallas superstar won.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) celebrates a play against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) celebrates a play against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) celebrates after scoring against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) celebrates after scoring against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, and guard Kyrie Irving, right, embrace after their win over theMinnesota Timberwolves in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, and guard Kyrie Irving, right, embrace after their win over theMinnesota Timberwolves in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) is helped off the court after he received a head injury during the first half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) is helped off the court after he received a head injury during the first half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) is checked on by teammates after a head injury during the first half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) is checked on by teammates after a head injury during the first half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) celebrates after scoring against Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) celebrates after scoring against Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) drives to the basket against Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) drives to the basket against Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) scores against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) scores against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) shoots against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) shoots against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (9) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (9) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (1) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (1) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Doncic and Kyrie Irving scored 33 points apiece and Dallas put together a decisive run in the final five minutes to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-107 on Sunday night for a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

The 14-3 finish gave the Mavs a fifth consecutive playoff victory after Dereck Lively II left with a sprained neck when the rookie center took an accidental shot to the back of the head from Karl-Anthony Towns' knee.

No team in NBA playoff history has rallied from 3-0 down.

“Don’t even say it,” said Doncic, who will try to clinch his first trip to the NBA Finals in Game 4 on Tuesday night in Dallas. “But it feels great. But we’ve got to think about next game. Gotta play with the same mentality. They’re not going to go away. No way.”

P.J. Washington Jr., who scored 16 points, put Dallas ahead for good on a tiebreaking corner 3-pointer with 3:38 remaining after Doncic passed to Irving, who sent the ball to Washington.

The co-stars took over from there.

Doncic hit a shot in the lane for a four-point lead, Irving sent the crowd into a frenzy on a falling-down jumper and Doncic found Daniel Gafford for an alley-oop dunk and a 113-105 lead with 34 seconds left. Gafford had just blocked Mike Conley's layup attempt at the other end.

“They’re trying to double me the whole game, trying to double Kai, so that just makes us better,” Doncic said. “Everybody touches the ball, everybody plays. We come down to the stretch, and we execute.”

Edwards had 26 points for the Wolves, but just four after scoring eight consecutive points for Minnesota to get the Wolves even in the third quarter.

“I never think the sky is falling,” Edwards said. “I’m always positive, always happy. Been through the works, so the sky’s never falling for me.”

Towns scored 14 points but missed all eight 3s, including a rushed 27-footer early in the shot clock when the deficit was four with 1:25 remaining.

After taking a 104-102 lead on Kyle Anderson's floater with five minutes to go, Minnesota — which couldn't hold leads of 18 points in the first half and five points in the final 90 seconds of Game 2 — missed seven consecutive shots.

“You've got to try to score alongside of them,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said. “The whole series, we’ve struggled to close games. These three-minutes games that we’re playing, we’re losing.”

Doncic, whose game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds of Game 2 in Minnesota put Dallas firmly in control of the series, was 10 of 20 and 5 of 11 from deep.

Irving, who won the 2016 title alongside LeBron James with Cleveland, scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and finished 12 of 20 and 3 of 6 from long range.

The Mavs, with 2011 NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki watching from center court, are the closest they've been to the NBA's biggest stage since the big German led them to their only championship.

Edwards was 11 of 24, but took just three shots in the fourth quarter, making two. The 22-year-old star who has acknowledged fatigue in the series had nine rebounds and nine assists.

“We can’t be anything but positive at this point,” Edwards said. “We can’t be negative. Try to get one win at a time.”

In the second quarter, Lively absorbed the kind of contact normally found on football fields not far from Kansas City Chiefs stars Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, the quarterback-tight end pair sitting courtside.

The rookie from Duke stayed on the court holding his head after it snapped forward on the accidental contact. Lively was down for several minutes before appearing dazed as he was helped off the court and taken to the locker room.

Lively fell as Mike Conley, who scored 16 points, was driving for a missed shot, and Towns was pursuing an offensive rebound when his knee hit Lively’s head in the second quarter.

The 20-year-old Lively and Gafford, the starter, played a big role in helping Dallas take a 2-0 lead. Lively is 12 of 12 from the field in the series, including three makes in Game 3.

This story has been updated to correct the Mavericks' final run to 14-3 instead of 12-3.

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) grabs a rebound over Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) grabs a rebound over Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) celebrates a play against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) celebrates a play against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) celebrates after scoring against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) celebrates after scoring against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, and guard Kyrie Irving, right, embrace after their win over theMinnesota Timberwolves in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, and guard Kyrie Irving, right, embrace after their win over theMinnesota Timberwolves in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) is helped off the court after he received a head injury during the first half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) is helped off the court after he received a head injury during the first half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) is checked on by teammates after a head injury during the first half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) is checked on by teammates after a head injury during the first half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) celebrates after scoring against Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) celebrates after scoring against Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) drives to the basket against Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) drives to the basket against Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) scores against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) scores against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) shoots against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) shoots against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (9) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots over Minnesota Timberwolves guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (9) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (1) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (1) during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

WASHINGTON (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will free him from prison and resolve a long-running legal saga that spanned multiple continents and centered on the publication of a trove of classified documents, according to court papers filed late Monday.

Assange is scheduled to appear in the federal court in the Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth in the Western Pacific, to plead guilty to an Espionage Act charge of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified national defense information, the Justice Department said in a letter filed in court.

The guilty plea, which must be approved by a judge, brings an abrupt conclusion to a criminal case of international intrigue and to the U.S. government’s years-long pursuit of a publisher whose hugely popular secret-sharing website made him a cause célèbre among many press freedom advocates who said he acted as a journalist to expose U.S. military wrongdoing. Investigators, by contrast, have repeatedly asserted that his actions broke laws meant to protect sensitive information and put the country’s national security at risk.

He is expected to return to Australia after his plea and sentencing, which is scheduled for Wednesday morning, local time in Saipan, the largest island in the Mariana Islands. The hearing is taking place there because of Assange’s opposition to traveling to the continental U.S. and the court’s proximity to Australia.

The deal ensures that Assange will admit guilt while also sparing him from any additional prison time. He had spent years hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London after Swedish authorities sought his arrest on rape allegations before being locked up in the United Kingdom.

Prosecutors have agreed to a sentence of the five years Assange has already spent in a high-security British prison while fighting to avoid extradition to the U.S. to face charges, a process that has played out in a series of hearings in London. Last month, he won the right to appeal an extradition order after his lawyers argued that the U.S. government provided “blatantly inadequate” assurances that he would have the same free speech protections as an American citizen if extradited from Britain.

He is expected to return to Australia after his plea and sentencing, which is scheduled for Wednesday morning, local time in Saipan, the largest island in the Mariana Islands. The hearing is taking place there because of Assange’s opposition to traveling to the continental U.S. and the court’s proximity to Australia.

Assange has been heralded by many around the world as a hero who brought to light military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among the files published by WikiLeaks was a video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack by American forces in Baghdad that killed 11 people, including two Reuters journalists.

But his reputation was also tarnished by rape allegations, which he has denied.

The Justice Department’s indictment unsealed in 2019 accused Assange of encouraging and helping U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks published in 2010. Prosecutors had accused Assange of damaging national security by publishing documents that harmed the U.S. and its allies and aided its adversaries.

The case was lambasted by press advocates and Assange supporters. Federal prosecutors defended it as targeting conduct that went way beyond that of a journalist gathering information, amounting to an attempt to solicit, steal and indiscriminately publish classified government documents. It was brought even though the Obama administration Justice Department had passed on prosecuting him years earlier.

The plea agreement comes months after President Joe Biden said he was considering a request from Australia to drop the U.S. push to prosecute Assange.

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after being convicted of violating the Espionage Act and other offenses for leaking classified government and military documents to WikiLeaks. President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in 2017, allowing her release after about seven behind bars.

Assange made headlines in 2016 after his website published Democratic emails that prosecutors say were stolen by Russian intelligence operatives. He was never charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, but the inquiry laid bare in stark detail the role that the hacking operation played in interfering in that year’s election on behalf of then-Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Justice Department officials mulled charges for Assange following the documents’ 2010 publication, but were unsure a case would hold up in court and were concerned it could be hard to justify prosecuting him for acts similar to those of a conventional journalist.

The posture changed in the Trump administration, however, with former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2017 calling Assange’s arrest a priority.

Assange’s family and supporters have said his physical and mental health have suffered during more than a decade of legal battles, which includes seven years spent inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 and was granted political asylum after courts in England ruled he should be extradited to Sweden as part of a rape investigation in the Scandinavian country. He was arrested by British police after Ecuador’s government withdrew his asylum status in 2019 and then jailed for skipping bail when he first took shelter inside the embassy.

Although Sweden eventually dropped its sex crimes investigation because so much time had elapsed, Assange has remained in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison during the extradition battle with the U.S.

FILE - Julian Assange speaks to the media outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, May 19, 2017. Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will free him from prison and resolve a long-running legal saga over the publication of a trove of classified documents. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

FILE - Julian Assange speaks to the media outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, May 19, 2017. Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will free him from prison and resolve a long-running legal saga over the publication of a trove of classified documents. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

FILE - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrivies at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London, Feb. 7, 2011. Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will free him from prison and resolve a long-running legal saga over the publication of a trove of classified documents. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, files)

FILE - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrivies at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court in London, Feb. 7, 2011. Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will free him from prison and resolve a long-running legal saga over the publication of a trove of classified documents. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, files)

FILE - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Feb. 5, 2016. Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will free him from prison and resolve a long-running legal saga over the publication of a trove of classified documents. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

FILE - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Feb. 5, 2016. Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will free him from prison and resolve a long-running legal saga over the publication of a trove of classified documents. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

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