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Recap: Suns outlast Mavericks in a signature Kevin Durant game

The Suns knocked off the Mavericks 130-126 in a game with all the scoring that had been advertised.

Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Well, this was a memorable one. In a game that was sometimes exhilirating, sometimes extremely frustrating, the Phoenix Suns triumphed over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. This one had great individual performances, questionable officiating, some bad blood, and ultimately proved to be a down-to-the-wire thriller.

This was not only the first “big” Durant game in his Suns career, it was also a good statement game for the Suns. I really felt the Suns took the Mavericks’ best punches today, and they didn’t fold on the road. There should be little doubt now which of these teams has the upper hand on the other down the stretch, and I think the Suns would have no problem hooking up with these guys again in the postseason.

Suns win, 130-126, with Durant giving the Suns the lead with seconds left and clearing the clinching rebound too.

Kevin Durant and Devin Booker are the first Suns teammates with 35+ points in the same game since Booker and T.J. Warren in 2017.

First half

Both teams, I felt, fell a little bit into the emotion of the game (especially in the first quarter) and there was a lot of questionable pulling up on both sides. Kevin Durant began the contest continuing to be a hyper-efficient assasin in his third game for the club. He started the game a perfect 6-6 from the floor and finished the first half 6/8 for 16 points.

Not to be overshadowed, Devin Booker also attacked the basket aggressively against a Dallas defense not known for its ferocity.

He finished the half 8/13 for 17 points.

The Suns looked comfortably in charge for the first quarter, but the second one saw the Mavericks getting the better of the officials’ whistles and Tim Hardaway Jr. catching fire from deep to the tune of 5/6 shooting from three point range.

That made the difference for the Mavs with neither Luka Doncic or Kyrie Irving doing especially much, with Luka actually struggling pretty badly going 2/9 from the floor in the half.

Halftime score: Mavericks 62, Suns 59

Second half

The second half was a wild ride punctuated by a lot of scoring from all four major superstars. As a Suns fan, though, it has to be said how frustrating it was to watch Luka Doncic repeatedly bump into smaller Suns players (poor Cam Payne was victimized multiple times) and then cry to the officials for a foul. Problem is, he more often than not got the call.

One less heralded Sun, Josh Okogie, had an awful time of things, repeatedly left wide open from the corner and repeatedly bricking it. Another, Ish Wainwright, was unexpectedly hot and hit four huge threes to keep the Mavericks from pulling away in the fourth quarter.

The game was tied at 124 with a minute play, and Ayton put the Suns up with a tip in off a Booker miss. But the Mavericks answered right back with a Dwight Powell jam off a nice lob from Doncic.

Then Kevin Durant did his thing. Driving down the left side with less than fifteen seconds to play, the 6’10 or 6’11 (depends who you ask) scoring maestro rose up over the 6’5 Hardaway Jr. to bury a two point bucket with 11 seconds left, putting the Suns up 128-126.

Doncic had a great look on the other end, but missed a chip shot that rolled off the rim and was grabbed by Durant, who was fouled.

Things got a little ugly there, as Booker felt Luka had committed an offensive foul before missing his shot and was talking about it. Doncic plastered a silly grin on his face and chest bumped Booker. The guys were separated, double technicals assessed to both Booker and Doncic, and Durant hit the two free throws on the other end to put the Suns up by four.

Doncic missed perfunctory heave to end the game, and that was it. Suns win 130-126.

Durant and Booker both shone brightly in this game, exactly what the Suns front office must have envisioned when they made the trade. Durant led all scorers with 37 on an incredibly efficient 12/17 shooting, going 10/11 at the line. He was sometimes doubled, which led to fewer attempts than perhaps some thought he might get in this one, but he made the clean looks he got count.

Booker paced him closely with 36 on 15/25, also dropping 10 assists to only one turnover. A sterling performance in its own right.

Deandre Ayton had only 9 points, but was huge on the boards with 16 rebounds. Chris Paul’s numbers won’t jump out of the box score, but he hit some timely shots and played some good defense.

Doncic led the Mavs with 34 points, driven largely by his 17/19 foul shooting. Irving had 30 points on 10/19 shooting.

The Suns moved to 36-29, and next play Wednesday at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavs fell to 33-32, they next host the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.

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