The Dallas Mavericks achieved their first win in the series against the Phoenix Suns. Mavs won Game 3 103: 94, but had to shake again briefly in the fourth quarter due to Luka Doncic’s error problems. But Jalen Brunson ran in the break.
Brunson, who had taken some criticism after the first two games in Phoenix, was Mavs’ best scorer with 28 points (10/21 FG) and was excellent in the phases where Luka Doncic struggled with error problems in the second half. The Slovenian still got a triple-double with 26 points (11/25), 13 rebounds and 9 assists in 34 minutes.
Doncic’s defense in the fourth quarter was still problematic as he obviously wanted to avoid any contact. Reggie Bullock (15, 4/10 threes), Dorian Finney-Smith (14, 4/11 threes) and Maxi Kleber (14, 6/9, 3 rebounds, 4 assists) made up for this with passionate commitment.
At the Suns, all starters scored double-digit, but Jae Crowder was already the most diligent points collector with 19 points (5/8 3P). Especially Devin Booker (18, 6/13, 6 assists) and Chris Paul (12, 5/9, 4 assists, 7 turnovers) remained pale for long stretches and could not turn the match in the final section either.
The start of the Mavs was weak again, but with the fans’ euphoria and much more passion, the hosts achieved the highest league lead (20:13) in the middle of the quarter. Brunson was in rhythm (already 10 points), it helped that the Suns no longer hit every shot from the middle distance, and CP3 produced turnovers that were atypical of him (29:20).
With Doncic on the bench, Mavs increased the pace and the visitors hardly got any good trades. Dinwiddie was active in the defense and also made a certain move to the basket. And yet Mavs left a lot, especially the jump shots were a problem. So Doncic decided to play more bullshit, both Mikal Bridges and Booker had no chance. The Slovenian had 17 points at the break, Paul had 7 turnovers – and yet the hosts led “only” 51:44.
Jalen Brunson joins Doncic too late
Mavs got off to a good start in the second half. Finney-Smith scored two triples and the hosts forced a couple of stops. Doncic controlled the game, but showed defensive weaknesses again and had four errors on the bench in the middle of the period. So it was back to Brunson to make sure of the attack and the guard delivered. In return, a bit came from the Suns backfield, instead, several threes came from Crowder, who kept the visitors inside the match. The lead was increased to +15 after three sections (82:67).
Mavs also managed the lead at first, but the momentum changed somewhat as Doncic admitted another mistake and coach Jason Kidd gave up a challenge he might have won. Booker and CP3 instantly hit jump shots, Reggie Bullock hit a three for relief. The Suns collected six points in four minutes without Doncic and pushed the deficit back into the single digits.
The visitors could not get closer than 8. Brunson pulled four penalty throws and also struck a leg against Paul, Bullock finally put the lid on the now trembling Mavs after a broken game from the corner with almost a minute left on the clock (102: 91).
The most important statistic
Dallas Mavericks (4) – Phoenix Suns (1) 103: 94 (BOXSCORE), Series: 1-2
- Dallas failed to put things right in the first half. There were, of course, Pauls 7 turnovers, while the Suns only hit 7 of their 17 attempts in the zone. Dallas, on the other hand, committed only one turnover (a controversial offensive mistake by Doncic against CP3) and put the ball in the zone far more often. But the mares just did not fall. By combining three-pointers and mid-range, the Mavs lowered only 23 percent of their shots in the first 24 minutes (6/26).
- It was all the more exemplary how Mavs attacked the zone and was not afraid of Deandre Ayton (16, 11 rebounds), who was hardly a defensive factor. The Mavs had 50 points in the zone, while the Suns only had 32.
- The win also ended a 11-game winning streak for the Suns against Dallas. The Texans last won a game against Phoenix in November 2019, and Doncic scored 42 points, 9 rebounds and 11 assists in the 120: 113 victory in Arizona.
- And another series of Suns reef. In the first nine playoff games, the Suns had always hit at least 50 percent from the field, this time the best offensive of the off-season clearly missed this mark. Dallas kept the visitors out of the field at 44.7 percent, though the Suns again had a warm hand from distance (13/28, 46 percent).
- Dallas scored even worse, but won the ball. Coach Kidd’s team took a total of 14 more shots than Phoenix. This was mainly due to the Suns’ uncharacteristic 17 turnovers (Dallas: 8), but also the other chances Dallas had (15: 8).
Mavs Vs. Suns: The Voice of the Game
Jason Kidd (Head Coach Mavs): “It was a great team success for us. We wanted to be aggressive earlier in the clock, and we succeeded. (…) I did not know that we had lost eleven games in a row against Phoenix.”
Luka Doncic (Mavs): “Every game is a must-win game for us, especially in the playoffs. We played with so much energy in defense. The fans pushed us, it was a great atmosphere during the 48 minutes.”
Game star: Jalen Brunson
It was more like Brunson who was so valuable to Dallas in the Utah series. The guard had more points after three quarters than in the first two games combined (24). Dallas let the guard do more early and was able to trust the 25-year-old when Doncic ran into error problems. The little hovercraft that missed in Phoenix jumped over the ring and into the basket this time, so easy it is sometimes.
Game flop: Chris Paul
CP3 has certainly had better birthdays. On its 37th day of honor, Point God accomplished almost nothing. Dallas put the old man under a lot more pressure and he made surprisingly many mistakes. After the break, he did not lose the ball anymore, nor could he orchestrate a final run by the Suns.
Was that already an indicator that this was Mavs’ night. After a miss, Doncic went down and got the ball back from the Suns while sitting after Bridges tried to keep Wilson in play. We have not seen many assists from a sitting position this seasonfitting that Doncic of all people did.
NBA Playoffs: Suns vs. Mavs – The Series at a Glance (2-1)
|1||May 3||4 o’clock||Phoenix Suns||Dallas Mavericks||121: 114|
|2||May 5||4 o’clock||Phoenix Suns||Dallas Mavericks||129: 109|
|3||May 7||3.30||Dallas Mavericks||Phoenix Suns||103: 94|
|4||May 8th||21.30||Dallas Mavericks||Phoenix Suns||–|
|5||May 11||4 o’clock||Phoenix Suns||Dallas Mavericks||–|
|6 *||May 13||TBD||Dallas Mavericks||Phoenix Suns||–|
|7 *||May 16||TBD||Phoenix Suns||Dallas Mavericks||–|