This game started off okay for the Phoenix Suns, leading 32-24 late in the first quarter, but then the Suns shooting went cold for the next two quarters, and Dallas got hot before the Mavericks did.
After Luka Doncic left the game in the opening minutes, Spencer Dinwiddie did his best Luka impression and put up a season-high in points (36), adding 9 assists and 6 rebounds to lead the Mavericks past a really cold shooting Suns team.
Deandre Ayton had a frustrating and confounding game, playing aggressive, nearly posting his second 20/20 of the season (19 points, 20 rebounds, 1 block) while drawing a season-high 10 free throws, but he drew molten hot fire from the entire Suns fanbase by missing a ton of shots in the paint (6-21 from the field) and made the worst play at the worst time with 10 seconds left. And then there was that last three.
Chris Paul made a pair of layups to pull the Suns back to 96-95 with 19.7 seconds left. With 12 seconds left, Paul fouled Reggie Bullock, who made the first free throw but missed the second... except Ayton fouled Dwight Powell on the ensuing rebound attempt. Powell made both, and the Suns were down 4 with 9.8 seconds left.
Suns lose, 99-95.
Chris Paul had 22 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds. As a team, the Suns shot just 40% from the field. The Mavericks got to the line 12 more times than the Suns, making 8 more.
After hitting the first shot of the game to go up 2-0, the Suns found themselves getting beaten for offensive boards twice on the Mavericks first three possessions that turned into threes. Deandre Ayton appeared to need a moment to gather his legs again, coming off a flu bug that kept him out the last three games.
But the Suns were making their shots on the offensive end (5 of 7), and took a 12-8 lead anyway to force a Dallas timeout. During timeout, Luka Doncic was seen leaving the court for the locker room. He’d been nursing an ankle sprain the last few games, and must have re-turned it. Josh Green came in to replace Luka.
DA might look a little stiff, but he’s already got 6 rebounds, an assist and a pair of jumpers. The Mavericks, missing Christian Wood and Maxi Kleber, only have Dwight Powell — and maybe JaVale McGee? — to match up with Ayton.
The Suns weren’t doing much on the defensive end to stop Dallas though, and the game was tied 17-17 halfway through the quarter.
The Suns pulled out to a 22-19 lead, and Ayton took a seat with 6 points and 9 rebounds in only 7 minutes.
Chris Paul has been great for the Suns in this one so far, scoring 10 and assisting on 7 more, accounting for 17 of the Suns first 30 points.
Biyombo played a few minutes behind DA (4 points, 1 rebound) and then Dario got back in the game as the only big with the bench.
The Mavericks finished the quarter on an 8-0 run against the bench to tie the game after one.
Suns and Mavericks tied, 32-32 after one. Chris Paul (Suns) and Spencer Dinwiddie (Mavericks) lead each team in scoring with 10.
At this point the Mavericks said Luka Doncic will not return to the game (ankle). The Mavs are now down Luka and Christian Wood but somehow lead the game 34-32 because the Suns bench can’t make a shot and they keep committing fouls.
Monty finally brought a starter back, and Cam Johnson grabbed a rebound, dribbled down and drained a deep three to give the Suns back the lead, 35-34.
It’s not a good game for Dario tonight — already a missed shot and a pair of fouls committed. Ayton subs back in.
Josh Okogie also having a bad game, going 0-5 from the field to justify the Dallas defense not even trying to guard him. Duane Washington has been bad as well, missing both shots badly and not recording any assists until a driving layup tied the game at 39-39.
As the Mavericks got an alley-oop to go up 42-39, the Sus bench players were 3-14 in this one and the starters aren’t faring much better as they return. For a while there, the Suns could NOT hit a shot, no matter how open, until Cam Johnson finally hit a put-back to stem the tide, forcing a Jason Kidd timeout to cool the Suns off from that 2-0 run.
Spencer Dinwiddie went on a run then, putting the Mavericks up 52-45 with 1:08 left as the Suns were just walking in mud. A Cam Johnson three cut the lead, but Spencer Dinwiddie found a cutting Dwight Powell for a score with 0.3 left.
Mavericks up, 54-48 at halftime. The Suns are 6-19 on threes (Okogie and Wainright 0-7). The bench overall is just 3-14 from the field, and the team overall is shooting just 38.7% from the field. Mikal Bridges has not scored. Deandre Ayton has a double double, with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Cam Johnson has 13 points and 6 rebounds. Spencer Dinwiddie had 20 points and 6 assists to lead the Mavericks.
The Suns opened the second half like they ended the first, missing wide open shots, until Chris Paul made a straightaway three to stop the bleeding.
Dallas took a 58-51 lead just over two minutes into the third quarter, and the Suns players started passing up open shots.
Soon it was a 63-52 Mavericks lead, and the Suns are 1-7 from the field in this quarter. Timeout Suns. Ayton is now 4-15 from the field, missing a lot of close shots. At least he’s being very aggressive, with 15 rebounds, including 6 offensive. Bridges is 0-4 from the field.
Maybe this is just one of those games.
But then Mikal Bridges decided to wake up and made his first shots of the game, helping the Suns pull back to 67-64 and force a Mavericks timeout. Mikal followed his three in front of the Dallas bench with his patented pointing back at them, and was called for a tech. He must have included some choice words with it this time.
But then a Dinwiddie three later, plus the tech, and the Suns were down 7 again. They pulled it back to 4, but couldn’t get closer before the end of the quarter. Spencer Dinwiddie hit ANOTHER three, a fallaway into the stands basically, and the Mavericks had a 76-69 lead heading into the final quarter. He now has 30 points in 31 minutes, only 3 off his season high (33) with a quarter to go.
Suns down 76-69 after three. They are shooting only 38% from the field. Dinwiddie has 30 points (9-14 overall, 4-5 on threes), 8 assists and 6 rebounds. Suns are led by DA with 17 points and 17 rebounds, but he’s needed 18 shots to get that 17 points. The Suns bench is now 3-17 from the field.
The Suns made their first three shots of the quarter and pulled it back to 2 points, but then the Mavericks made a couple of contested corner threes to keep the lead and pull back to 6-up.
With 6:54 left in the 4th, the Suns just couldn’t put defensive stop together and the Mavericks went up 89-81 on a three by Dorian Finney-Smith that was wide open when Dinwiddie beat a high trap.
A couple minutes later, Spencer Dinwiddie hit a banked-in shot-clock-beating three to put the Mavericks up 95-86 with 3:32 left.
This just isn’t the Suns night.