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Game Recap: Mavericks even the series with Game 4 victory over Suns, 111-101

A three-point barrage from the Mavericks has completely changed the narrative of this Western Conference semi-final matchup.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks defended their homecourt and evened up their series with the Phoenix Suns, defeating them 111-101.

Luka Dončić led the way for Dallas with 26 points and 11 assists, but struggled for efficiency, shooting only 9-25 from the field and going 1-10 from downtown.

The same cannot be said for the rest of the Mavericks. Dallas shot 19-34 from beyond the arc outside of their star man, with Dorian Finney-Smith going a remarkable 8-12 from downtown. He posted a playoff career-high 24 points and added 8 rebounds as well, 5 of which came on the offensive end. In addition, Dāvis Bertāns came off the bench firing, going 4-6 from three and posting 12 points in under 13 minutes played.

Devin Booker scored 35 points in a valiant effort to keep the Suns within striking distance throughout the game, but he could not find enough support to complete the comeback. Just as they did in Game 3, the Mavericks never trailed in this game after taking the lead.

While Booker bounced back from his poor Game 3 performance, his backcourt partner Chris Paul could not do the same. After committing four fouls in the first half, Paul could not get out of his own way, picking up his fifth early in the third and eventually fouling out with just under nine minutes to go in the fourth. Paul’s night ended with just 5 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.


Starting Lineups

Suns

  • PG - Chris Paul
  • SG - Devin Booker
  • SF - Mikal Bridges
  • PF - Jae Crowder
  • C - Deandre Ayton

Injury Report: Torrey Craig (Out; right elbow contusion), Dario Šarić (Out; right knee rehab)

Mavericks

  • PG - Luka Dončić
  • SG - Jalen Brunson
  • SF - Reggie Bullock
  • PF - Dorian Finney-Smith
  • C - Dwight Powell

Injury Report: Tim Hardaway Jr. (Out; left foot rehab)


Game Flow

First Half

Phoenix wins the tip and scores on the first possession of the, a quick-trigger catch and shoot three by Devin Booker coming off the screen!

But Dallas snaps back immediately with a corner three for Reggie Bullock. Both teams are moving the ball well on offense from the start.

Luka Dončić picks up a tech early in the first for complaining, but it only fires up the Mavs as Dončić and Dorian Finney-Smith drill back-to-back threes. Suns’ coach Monty Williams takes the first timeout with 8:28 left to go in the first, 13-8.

A couple of possessions after the timeout, Booker is also given a technical foul - the stakes of this game are raising the players’ emotions and it’s only gonna grow.

Back-to-back turnovers by Chris Paul and Jae Crowder allow the Mavericks to push the lead out to 11 with 5:11 left to go in the first. Williams takes another timeout as Crowder hobbles to the locker room, as replays show him twisting his right ankle in the previous play.

Crowder would return to the Suns’ bench a few minutes later and eventually checked back in to play the final possessions of the quarter. But the good news stops there, as Dallas takes a 37-25 lead into the second quarter. Booker leads for the Suns with 13 points, but the sharpshooting of Finney-Smith (9 points, 3-4 3PT) and Dāvis Bertāns (6 points, 2-2 3PT) has given Dončić just the support he needs, who has 9 points and 3 assists at the break.

Bertāns carries the heat into the second, burying a couple more threes, only for Dinwiddie to bury another as the Mavs push the lead out to 17, 46-29 with 9:44 still left in the second. Dallas has already made 11 threes on only 17 attempts.

But just like in Game 3, Crowder steps up for the Suns, drilling back-to-back threes of his own. Shortly after, Paul finally gets on the board with his first basket, a corner three to bring the lead back to 11 with just over 6 minutes left in the half, 51-40.

Ayton’s putback and a technical on Powell bring the lead down to eight before Finney-Smith drills another three, restoring the Maverick's double-digit lead.

A three-point play by Booker and a layup for Paul cuts the lead to 6, but another Finney-Smith three gives the Mavs a 57-48 lead with 3:52 left to go in the half.

The teams go back and forth as the first half comes to a close with Dallas holding a 68-56 lead. Booker leads both teams with 19 points, while Crowder (12 points) and Ayton (10 points) did well to support Booker.

However, the Mavericks’ offensive firepower has simply been too much for the Suns to handle. Dončić has 16 points and 6 assists, while Finney-Smith (15 points, 5-7 3PT), Bertāns (12 points, 4-5 3PT), and Dinwiddie (10 points, 2-3 3PT) have been on fire in support. Dallas is 14-24 from downtown at the half, a remarkable 58.3%.

But worst of all was Paul receiving his fourth personal foul just before the halftime buzzer. It’s the first time he has ever committed that many fouls in the first half and will now have to walk a very fine line the rest of the way.

Second Half

Phoenix comes out of the half aggressively, getting themselves to the free-throw line and cutting the lead to seven just over two minutes into the half. But an offensive foul call on Paul forces Williams to burn a timeout and challenge the call, hoping to overturn what will otherwise be Paul’s fifth personal foul.

Coming out of the timeout, Williams’ challenge proves unsuccessful, and Paul checks out of the game with 9:32 left to go in the third. Cameron Payne will need to step up and find his groove in Paul’s absence, who will likely sit the rest of the quarter.

Payne converts a layup to record his first points and cut the lead to five, but the Mavs go on a quick 7-0 run to push their lead back into double-digits, 75-63 with 7:20 left to go in the third.

Paul’s absence is felt as Dončić dominates Payne inside. But the Suns chip the lead down to six and force Jason Kidd to take a timeout with under two minutes to go in the third, leading 82-76.

Phoenix did well to stay within striking distance without Paul. But a three from Frank Ntilikina gives the Mavericks a semi-comfortable 87-78 lead heading into the final quarter.

As the fourth begins, Paul remains on the bench as Williams looks to buy Paul as much time as possible. But shortly after a couple of poor offensive possessions to start the quarter, Paul checks back in with 10:28 left to go in the game.

But Brunson does well to goad Paul into his sixth foul less than two minutes later. Phoenix will now go the rest of the way without Paul with under nine minutes to go, trailing 89-81.

After a few cold possessions for both teams, Bridges scores a short jumper to cut the lead to six and force Kidd into a timeout with 7:12 left to go. But Finney-Smith answers his coach's call and buries back-to-back threes to cap off a quick 8-0 run in just over a minute to force Phoenix into a timeout of their own, trailing 97-83.

The Suns respond quickly with a three from Johnson right out of the timeout. But Dallas continues to strike gold from beyond the arc and it proves to be too much of a deficit for the Suns to overcome. The Mavericks ride out the final minutes of Game 4 and win,