Slovenian Luka Doncic sealed a double-double of 26 points and thirteen rebounds this Friday, in addition to dishing out nine assists, and gave the Dallas Mavericks a 103-94 win against the Phoenix Suns to reopen the Western Conference semifinals ( 1-2).
On the tightrope after losing the first two games of the series played in Phoenix, the Mavericks reactivated at home to the rhythm of Doncic against a Suns in which Chris Paul, who turned 37 this Friday, did not have his best night and accumulated up to seven turnovers.
Doncic bordered on the triple-double and was supported by 28 points, four rebounds and five assists from an excellent Jalen Brunson, who was decisive after scoring only 22 points in total in the first two games.
For the Suns, Paul scored twelve points, with twelve rebounds and four assists, while the best was Jae Crowder, with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Devin Booker had 18 points, two rebounds and six assists, but he also had five turnovers on a night his team shot 44%, less than 50% for the first time in these playoffs.
The Mavericks attacked from the first moment, led by a Doncic who already glimpsed his triple-double at halftime, with 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
The Slovenian, who competed with a colorful black bandage on one arm, did not shine from the three-point line, but was irrepressible in the paint, with powerful penetrations that pushed the Suns defense to the limit.
And on the other side of the court the Mavs managed to disable Chris Paul, the true killer of the second game. ‘CP3’ had already lost seven balls at the break and only got seven points and two assists.
After trailing by fourteen points at 48-34 in the second quarter, the fact that Mounty Williams’ team managed to limit the margin of disadvantage halfway through the game to seven was remarkable (51-44).
Of course, his 44 points were the worst mark for the Suns these ‘playoffs’, in which they reached the semifinals of the Western Conference after eliminating the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round.
Mounty Williams’s men slowed down the Mavs, but could only slow the momentum of a Mavericks who escaped with a strong performance in the third period.
Two triples from Finney-Smith, seven points from Doncic and ten from Jalen Brunson allowed the Mavs to take a fourteen-point lead in the first four minutes of the period and fifteen points to enter the final quarter (82-67).
Despite the fact that Doncic had foul trouble, already five with nine minutes to play, it was a forceful Finney-Smith in hitting his fourth triple of the night, to go up to 88-73 that distanced the Suns.
With their leader struggling on the bench, the Mavs saw the Suns pull within twelve points, but Reggie Bullock stepped in with a valuable 3-pointer to stop Arizona’s comeback attempt.
However, with four minutes to play and the Suns eleven points behind, Kidd pulled Doncic again to try to finish off the win.
And the Slovenian, despite not having a defensive impact, not being able to force to avoid the risk of ending up expelled, determined with the assistance to Bullock for the triple of 102-91 with 55 seconds to play, at a time in which the Suns They attacked with everything.
It was the basket that sentenced the clash and that allowed the Mavs to reopen the series, with the fourth game set for this Sunday, again in Dallas.