The Dallas Mavericks breathed new life into a better-of-seven streak against the Phoenix Suns with Friday night’s 103-94 win in Game Three to help the Dallas avoid what could easily be considered an insurmountable 3-0 deficit. With the win, the Mavericks now have a chance to even series on their home ground on Sunday.
Luka Doncic was fantastic for the Dallas win to finish the game with 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, but he also had a lot of help as four other Mavericks scored in double digits, led by Galen Bronson with a 28-point high. On the other hand, the entire Phoenix starting team scored double goals but did not receive enough support from the bench to keep up with Dallas.
We’ll see what happens next when these two teams meet again on Sunday.
Here are three main points from the game:
1. Doncic performs with foot movement
The Suns withdrew from the Mavericks in Game 2 largely because they repeatedly attacked Luka Doncic on the defensive end, and he had no answers. It was so bad that coach Jason Kidd called him up for Doncic, who said he needed to “get in and play defense”.
While Doncic didn’t suddenly turn into the outstanding Scottie Pippen, he was at least involved in this finish in Game Three. In fact, this is more than enough when he controls the offensive side of the ball. Despite being hampered by faulty problems at times, Doncic put on another impressive performance on Friday, finishing 26 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and two steals in just 34 minutes.
But while Doncic usually dazzles with his 3-passes or dips, he’s dived deeper into his bag of tricks in Game 3 and showcased his aftermath. He perfectly cooked Deandre Ayton in a classic top and bottom style:
Then Devin Booker took to the paint and fake it and made his way into another easy bucket:
Eight of Doncic’s 11 field goals came at the edge, working his way home early and often in the third game. While Doncic needs to play his part in defense, this game was another reminder that he makes his money when he has the ball. his hands.
2. Branson, MAVS role players advance
The first two games of the series were Luka Doncic’s show of attacking the Mavericks – even more so than usual. He has scored or assisted in 43 of the Mavericks’ 76 field goals (56.6 percent) in games 1 and 2. That’s impressive, but it’s also not a recipe for success against a great team like the Suns.
Dallas needed the role players to step up and offer some other offensive options if they wanted a chance to return in the series. To their credit, they did exactly that on Friday night. The bench points were more or less even – 18-17 in favor of the Mavericks – but the other starters around Doncic were fantastic. Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney Smith and Jalen Bronson scored in double digits, collecting 47 points.
Bronson, in particular, was the key. He did great in the first round against the Utah Jazz, holding the Mavericks at the time in Doncic’s absence. But against the sun he was not able to achieve anything. That changed in the third game, coming out strong and taking 10 points in the first quarter. He maintained that mentality the rest of the way and finished with 28 points, four rebounds and five assists in his best game of the series.
The Mavericks will need Bronson to port this to Game 4 if they want to chain-link.
3. Paul, the Suns are out of their game
The Mavericks deserve a lot of credit for their response in Game Three. They were 2-0 down and were embarrassing at times in Phoenix during the first two games. This was a huge statement that they weren’t about to lie down and let the sun walk over them on their way to the Western Conference Finals.
At the same time, we have to admit that this was just a weird performance by the Suns. The first few minutes went well, but after that, they didn’t look like the team that took a 2-0 lead in the series and looked like the Western Conference class. They were sloppy with the ball, missed the shots they normally do and generally looked not good.
Nothing sums it up more than Chris Paul’s seven transformations in the first half. He didn’t have that many turnovers in his first two games combined and he didn’t even have six first-half turnovers in his career. The Mavericks defense played a role, but there were a host of uncharacteristic plays as Paul just lost the ball or threw a pass wide.
In the strangest moment ever, he refused a wide open pass to throw a hook pass with his left hand which completely stunned Deandre Ayton.
Once again, the Mavericks won this game. This is not to dismiss what they accomplished, but not because it was a peculiar performance by Paul – on his birthday, no less.
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