A series doesn’t begin until the home team loses. Chris Paul’s unusually poor play (4 assists, 7 turnovers) combined with the Mavericks’ defense finally coming to life led to a predictable 103-94 win for Dallas. A game that was not as close as the final score would indicate.
Jae Crowder led the Phoenix Suns in scoring with 19 points and that tells you everything you need to know about how things went offensively for the Suns. Ayton Booker and Paul combined for 46 points while Doncic and Brunson combined 54.
An overall pretty rough outing for the best team in basketball
The Suns made three early triples to take an 13-7 lead but despite some cold shooting from Luka Doncic, the Mavs scored 13 unanswered points to take a 20-13 lead. Birthday boy Chris Paul ended the Dallas run with a tough fadeaway jumper over Dwight Powell.
Once again, the Suns were shooting relatively efficiently while the Mavs struggled from the field but Dallas held onto the lead due to the sheer volume of shot attempts they were getting. Through 10 minutes Dallas had 11 more field goal attempts than Phoenix.
That’s an absurd number that is a result of four Phoenix turnovers and four Dallas offensive rebounds. Hard to win games when you lose both of those categories.
Dallas’ sixth-ranked defense finally reared its ugly head as the Suns scored only 20 points in the first period, their lowest total of the series. Phoenix also surprisingly did not force a single turnover in the period.
Clearly the birthday wishes got to CP3’s head as he committed six turnovers in only 12 minutes of play after four turnovers in the first two games combined. In fact, Paul had only two games all season with at least 6 turnovers.
Despite having edges in free throw and three-point shooting, the Suns struggled to create consistent offense.
Even Luka struggled offensively, missing 10 of his 17 shots and missing two of his three foul shots.
Through one half, being down only 51-44 was not the end of the world for Phoenix.
The second half started perfectly....for the Mavericks. After a Bridges jumper to open the period, Dallas scored 11 unanswered including two Finney-Smith three-pointers. Thus extending the Mavericks' lead to 16.
Halfway through the third, Luka committed his fourth foul, taking him out of the game. Phoenix was down 71-55 and had a chance to make a comeback.
Instead they played Dallas practically even and entered the fourth down 15 points with little chance for a comeback.
After a questionable call against Doncic early in the fourth quarter he had to sit out with his five fouls. The Suns had their opening.
After back to back buckets by Booker and Paul, the 12 point lead didn’t look so insurmountable.
With four minutes left the Suns managed to cut the lead to single digits for the first time since early in the third quarter, but with Luka back in the game they were gonna have to play their best basketball yet to complete the comeback.
Ultimately it was a case of too little too late and the Suns couldn’t stop Dallas’ three-point barrage.