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Recap: Suns shellack Mavs in third Vegas contest

A strong team effort propelled the Summer Suns far beyond Dallas

2022 NBA Summer League - Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns (2-1) outclassed the Dallas Mavericks (0-3) in a 105-78 victory in each team’s third Summer League game. Eight different Suns — none of whom are regular season holdover Ish Wainright — had at least 9 points on the night.

First half

This game started much cleaner offensively for the Suns after the Mavs lost Olivier Sarr — who started again for the first time since game 1 — for a wide open slam off of the feed from Wainright. Sarr got another dunk on the following possession.

Kam Taylor made a positive impact early in this one, like he has for much of his time in Vegas. Taylor hasn’t done much with the ball as a Summer Sun, but he always makes the right play and is in the right spots, and he forced a turnover in this game, which was followed shortly thereafter by another strong defensive play, this time by his teammate, Louis King, who had a nice block on a drive.

We got an early appearance from Jo Lual-Acuil Jr., who only got spot minutes in the first two games. He didn’t take long to impress either, with a strong roll to the rim for a lob finish followed by a block on the other end, and an and-one drive on the next.

The theme on the night of a good defensive effort continued through the first quarter; it took Dallas more than five and a half minutes to get their second basket of the night.

Capping off an incredible 19-4 start over the first 7:34 of the game, Ahmad Caver came off the bench to throw a beautiful hesitation move at a defender before blowing by for an acrobatic finish. By this point, both of Phoenix’s centers — Sarr (6) and Lual-Acuil Jr. (5) — were each outscoring Dallas by themselves.

In response to a late-quarter run from Dallas, Tyson Carter hit a pull-up three just before the quarter ended to extend the lead back out to 26-13. Lual-Acuil Jr. led the way with 7 points in 6 minutes for Phoenix while Justin Gorham’s 5 points paced Dallas.

McKinley Wright IV started the second off the same way for Phoenix with a forced turnover on Dallas’s first possession and executed a four-point play immediately after. They’d live at the line early in the frame with 7 attempts across the team over the first 1:58 of the second.

Sarr was a big part of Phoenix’s continued dominance in the second quarter, contributing quite a few of the aforementioned free throw attempts, bringing aggression to the painted area. He added in a Richaun Holmes-esque push shot. Sarr was the game’s first double-digit scorer with 12 in his first 8:26 on the floor.

Suns carried a 22-point lead into the break, up 47-25.

Second half

Phoenix continued the night’s trends of tough, fast starts into the third quarter when Wainright got some give-and-go action with Sarr, ending in this physical bucket:

Suns continued to live in the paint and live at the line with the game getting out of hand in a hurry, Phoenix up 59-33 midway through the third. As they approached the 30-point mark, King had arguably the best dunk for the Summer Suns, a poster that earned him a tech too:

Though they did reach the elusive 30-point lead at points in the third, the Suns “only” led 76-47 after three quarters.

As the game wound down, Chinese forward Zhang Zherlin, or “Kevin Zhang” as he’s known in the states, got plenty of run and played hard both ways, totaling 9 points in his 6:26.

Suns win this one 105-78 in true Suns fashion; five different players finished in double figures and three more had 9 each. They had 24 assists to just 14 turnovers, a great mark for Summer League.

Three stars of the game

Three stars: Olivier Sarr

Two stars: Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.

One star: Louis King

Up next

The 2-1 Summer Suns close out the initial portion of their Summer League schedule — with at least one more game to come afterwards — on Friday with a 5 p.m. tip against the 1-1 Sacramento Kings on NBA TV.

The Kings have their third game on Wednesday at 5 p.m. against the 1-1 Oklahoma City Thunder on NBA TV.

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