PJ Washington’s free throws end the comeback and the Mavs beat the Thunder to reach the Western finals – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

PJ Washington Jr. made two free throws before intentionally missing with 2.5 seconds left, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 117-116 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night and to the Western Conference finals for the second time. once in three seasons.

Washington was fouled by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on a 3-point attempt after Chet Holmgren put the Thunder ahead 116-115 with a dunk and an assist from his star guard with 20 seconds left.

Luka Doncic, who had 29 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, drove his way to the basket in the final seconds before passing Washington in the corner. Washington faked to put Gilgeous-Alexander in the air and the whistle blew when the shot fell short.

Oklahoma City challenged the ball, but replay showed Gilgeous-Alexander making contact with Washington’s arm as he moved in to shoot.

After making the first two free throws to put Dallas in front, Washington missed on purpose and Holmgren passed the ball to Jalen Williams, whose desperation shot from well behind half court was not close.

The Mavericks won Game 6 at home against the top-seeded Thunder, just as they did in the first round against the Los Angeles Clippers. Dallas trailed by 17 points in the third quarter.

The final sequence capped a fascinating fourth quarter with five lead changes and two ties in the final five minutes after the Thunder had led for all but a minute until then.

Gilgeous-Alexander scored 36 points, his most in the playoffs this season, while Jalen Williams had 22 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and Holmgren scored 21.

Kyrie Irving and Derrick Jones Jr. each scored 22 points for Dallas. It was the second consecutive career-high playoff game for Jones.

Against all odds, the Atlanta Hawks earned the first overall pick in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft for the first time in franchise history. In a year without a consensus No. 1 prospect, here’s a look at the five best prospects in this year’s draft and where Bronny James ranks on the board.