NBA Playoffs: Dallas Mavericks lose Game 1 to Phoenix

The Dallas Mavericks lost the opening game of the Western Conference Semifinals to the Phoenix Suns despite 45 points from Luka Doncic. The final result of 121: 114 contradicts a long-time dominant performance of the Suns, Mavs comeback coming too late.

The Suns led by a full 21 points in the fourth quarter before the West’s 1-seed let it slide a bit. Before then, however, the hosts’ attack ran like a Swiss clockwork and posed enormous problems for Dallas. Despite a weak last section, Phoenix still scored more than 50 percent from the field, Deandre Ayton was the most diligent points collector with 25 points (12/20 FG).

In addition to Ayton, Devin Booker (23, 9 rebounds and 8 assists) and Chris Paul (19 and 3 assists) were also impressive. In addition, role players such as Cam Johnson (17, 3/6 threes), Jae Crowder (11, 3/5) and Mikal Bridges (13, 2 blocks) provided strong support.

Doncic defended himself ahead of Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki with 45 points (15/30 FG), 12 rebounds and 8 assists, but backcourt colleagues Jalen Brunson (13, 6/16 FG) and Spencer Dinwiddie (8, 3/8 FG) received too little support. But Maxi Kleber ran hot from a distance, the German contributed 19 points on 5/8 from Downtown, Dorian Finney-Smith scored 15 points. But for a long time, Dallas found no means, especially defensively.

The first minutes of the Conference Semifinals were nothing but a horror start for the guests. Several Mavs turnovers were penalized by a bridges alley oop or a crowder-three – midway through the first quarter, Phoenix was already ahead 22-7. Kleber then kept Dallas inside the game with three three-pointers, and Doncic got much better against the Suns’ second unit. He was directly involved in 20 of the 25 Mavs points as a scorer or assist provider – but the Suns scored 35 points in the first section.

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