Doncic wins, the Mavericks win. First win of the tie for the Texas team, who won a very typical playoff game in front of their home crowd: return home, tremendous support from the fans, a lot of success in the middle of the fantasy and an overwhelming atmosphere for a very failed rival. With the homework done, it will be the fourth round that will decide a tie that can almost sentence the Suns, or give the Mavs an extra and unexpected emotion. At the moment, 2-1 and less than 48 hours for a new challenge (tomorrow at 9:30 p.m., Spanish time), in one of the objectively most important games in the recent history of the entity owned by Mark Cuban. And a little time to enjoy the good taste in the mouth that leaves a match dominated from the defensein which they have had an advantage since the first quarter and in which everyone has been involved.
In the all or nothing for the Mavs, Phoenix struck the first blow and started with leads of 9-3 and 13-7, but soon the locals came back to get 13-20 and not lose the leadership in the rest of the match. It was necessary to become strong at home, strengthen the virtues, change the pairings, exploit the few defects of the rival (one that has won 64 games in regular season, let no one forget) and frighten with the environmental pressure in a place where dreaming is free. The Mavericks have nothing to lose and also played as if they had a lot to gain. And now there is only one new assault left in which the Suns will react, surely, with wisdom, and Monty Williams will correct the insecurity with the ball (up to 17 turnovers) and Chris Paul’s lousy gamewho went from sentencing his rivals in the second match to being a mere entity in the third: 12 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, but 7 turnovers and -8 with him on the court.
The Mavericks managed to win by 18 in a slow game, with almost no counterattacks, with long and well matured plays and well placed defenses. 29-20 in the first quarter was 51-44 at halftime, but the locals pressed in the third quarter until 82-67, and opened more space with a three-pointer from a successful Reggie Bullock (15 points, 4 of 10 from outside) that gave them peace of mind to face the last period. The Suns still fooled around with the comeback and got to 9 (95-86) with just over 4 minutes to go and with Luka Doncic on the bench with 5 fouls, a constant that has hurt him tonight. But the Mavericks didn’t hesitate, Jalen Brunson (28 points, leading scorer) emerged, Jason Kidd used timeouts well and another three-pointer by Bullock in the last minute chased away any doubts of an annoying 99-91 that quickly turned into a 102-91. Sentence. In the end, 104-93, the corresponding applause and for home with 2-1.
Kidd had a good plan that went halfway: protect Doncic defensively and keep him from facing Chris Paul or Devin Booker, and use the post a lot on offense to create from there. The first had no effect and the Slovenian finished with 5 fouls, but the second worked perfectly. In the end, 26 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists with 2 steals in just 34 minutes, but 5 turnovers, 5 fouls committed and some shooting errors (11 of 25 in field goals, 2 of 7 in triples and 2 of 5 on free throws). The Mavs played well without Doncic through the work and grace of an immeasurable Brunson, but they got a +20 with their star on court, making it undeniable that his ability is brutal and his decisive influence. Dorian Finney-Smith finished with 14 points, the same as Maxi Klebber, and Kidd rotated just enough and only gave wings to Klebber himself and to Spencer Dinwiddie (4+4+4) at some point in the duel.
In the Suns, the entire quintet exceeded ten, but nobody reached 20 points and only DeAndre Ayton hammered the rival basket with some ease (16+11). Devin Booker was intermittent and only attempted 13 shots (18 points in the end) and Chris Paul scored 5 points in the fourth quarter, but he was far from being as decisive as in the second game. In the end, 2-1 and a few hours for a transcendental duel in the series, in any series that goes with this result. A day in which the Mavericks meet against their only enemy, themselves. The Texan team had not beaten the Suns since 2019 (11-0). And Doncic gets only his second victory against one of those rivals who tortures him mercilessly, Chris Paul (9-2 in the balance between the two). We’ll see if the joy is temporary or turns into fear in the body of the Suns. The opportunity is fair and legitimate for one team, while the need to avoid surprises is what motivates the other. Luka Doncic, comeback operation. At least that’s the intention Sure.