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Souhan: How the Wolves should approach improbable comeback

DALLAS – Can the Timberwolves win four straight games and the Western Conference finals?

The history of the NBA says no.

The history of American sports tells us anything is possible.

No NBA team has ever won a series after trailing 3-0. The Wolves trail the Dallas Mavericks 3-0. Betting on Minnesota to win this series would be foolish, but dismissing the team's chances ignores the unpredictable nature of sports.

I have two points of reference.

I covered the 2004 American League Championship Series. The New York Yankees took a 3-0 lead on the Boston Red Sox. Remember, at that point, you couldn't say hello to a Boston fan without them mentioning that they hadn't won a World Series since 1918 and that the Curse of the Bambino haunted their lives.

The city of Boston was in mourning ... and then the Red Sox eked out a victory in Game 4, won three more and went on to win the World Series, then won again in 2007, 2013 and 2018.

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I also walked alongside Y.E. Yang as he did something similarly unimaginable: destroying Tiger Woods in a head-to-head matchup in the final round of the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National.

Woods was considered invincible when he had a lead at a major. Yang beat him by five strokes that Sunday to win the title by three shots.

The Red Sox winning four straight against the Yankees and Yang winning his only major championship by destroying Woods head-to-head were unimaginable events, until they weren't.

What do the Wolves have to do to make NBA history?

Ride Kyle Anderson

Wolves coach Chris Finch said Anthony Edwards has to "speed up" and Karl-Anthony Towns has to "slow down."

Kyle Anderson, the veteran forward known as "Slo-Mo," put on a clinic in Game 3 on how to play with savvy and control, and how to penetrate the soft spots in the Mavericks defense.

He produced 10 points and three assists in just 17 minutes and blocked two shots, demonstrating that his combination of length, quick hands and know-how might be the best antidote to the incredible skills of Mavs stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

Finch said late Sunday night that he probably should have played Anderson more. He's right. He can do so in Game 4.

Remember they're human

Doncic and Irving have looked unbeatable in this series. They're not. The Wolves won six more regular-season games than the Mavs and lost fewer games in the first two rounds.

Doncic is shooting 43% from the field and 32% on three-pointers this postseason. He's hardly infallible. The Wolves need to either defend him better in end-game situations or secure enough of a lead that he can't win the game in the last seconds.

Coach counters

Mavs coach Jason Kidd has gotten the better of Finch so far, and he and Wolves point guard Mike Conley have complained about the team making "game plan" mistakes that are leading to easy dunks and three-pointers from the Mavs' supporting cast.

That's inexcusable but also correctible.

Send Lively flowers

Mavs rookie Dereck Lively II was outplaying the Wolves' big men until he left Game 3 with what was called a neck sprain but looked more like a concussion. If he can't return, the Wolves might finally establish superiority near the rim.

Stars must star

Karl-Anthony Towns is having a career-wrecking series. Edwards is playing like a tired 22-year-old.

If either or both began playing efficiently on offense, these close games could go the Wolves' way.

Blow them out

The Wolves beat the Denver Nuggets by seven, 26, 45 and eight. Before that, they beat the Phoenix Suns by 25, 12, 17 and six.

You don't need to stop Doncic's last-second shot if you're up by double digits.

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Conley said Monday that the Wolves haven't had a game in which everyone played well together. The Suns and Nuggets series weren't flukes. If the Wolves play at their peak, they should win.

Get mad

Doncic has been disrespectful all series, screaming at Rudy Gobert and Edwards and glaring at the Wolves bench.

There's only one way to shut him up.