Image Credit: @mavspr Twitter
On Saturday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Phoenix Suns on the second night of a back-to-back. The Mavericks come into Dallas on a losing streak in hopes of shaking things up to get back on track. A win here for the Mavericks would do themselves a huge favor as they try to climb back in the playoff chase.
On Friday, the Mavericks were in Utah finishing up their two game series with the Jazz, hoping to end their disastrous losing streak. The Jazz made sure that didn’t happen as they were busy protecting what they built, a 10 game winning streak. Even without Donovan Mitchell, who missed his second consecutive game while being in the concussion protocol, the Jazz had little retaliation from the Mavericks as they were able to extend their winning streak to 11 games. Luka Doncic did everything he could to snap the losing streak as he scored 25 points with little help around him. The Jazz were able to get production from Bojan Bogdanovic as he scored his season-high 32 points to lead them to a 120-101 victory. With the loss, the Mavericks saw their losing streak extended to four games to see their record drop to 8-11 on the season.
The Phoenix Suns are coming into this game only winning four of their last six games to see their record at 9-8 on the season. They are recently coming off of a 114-93 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. The Suns currently own the 7th seed in the western conference in hopes of remaining in the playoff chase. They are relying on Devin Booker and Chris Paul to get them to the playoffs as they both play a tremendous role on the team. Both of them lead the team in either points or assists. The Suns are averaging 26.4 assists per game as a team which is good for 7th in the NBA. The defense have playing great as they are only allowing 107.6 points per game which is good for sixth fewest in the NBA.
Entering this game, the Mavericks lost their regular season series last season against the Suns by going 1-3. The Mavericks played the Suns in the season opener which resulted in a 106-102 loss. The Suns have won four straight and 10 of the last 12 meetings against the Mavericks. Overall, the Suns lead the all-time series with a record of 89-74.
The Mavericks started this game without their co-star Kristaps Porzingis, as he sat out on the second night of a back-to-back. The Mavericks are still monitoring Kristaps Porzingis as he recovers from offseason knee surgery and don’t want to over manage his minutes. The Phoenix Suns were also with their star Devin Booker as he didn’t play due to a strained left hamstring. The first points of the game would belong to Tim Hardaway Jr as he hit a free-throw line jumper for two points for the Mavericks. The Mavericks were able to get off to a good start in the game, as they were able to go on a 7-3 run in the early stages of the first quarter. Chris Paul would tie the game at 7-7 as he was able to hit a 16-foot jumper to erase the Mavericks lead. The Suns took their first lead of the game with Jae Crowder hitting a 24-foot three pointer to give them a 10-7 lead. Rick Carlisle would call timeout as the Suns were just starting to get comfortable in the game as they were on a 7-0 run with 7:23 left in the quarter. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks were able to get points from Tim Hardaway Jr to end the Suns run but were still trailing 13-9. The Mavericks quickly cut into the Suns lead as they were able to come within two points with Tim Hardaway Jr starting to heat up which resulted in the Suns calling timeout with 5:38 left in the quarter. Coming out of the timeout, the Suns were able to get an easy basket as E’Twaun Moore made a driving layup to remain in front of this game. Despite their good start on offense for the Mavericks, it was their defense that struggled as they allowed the Suns to get second chance points to keep momentum on their side. In the final minutes of the quarter, the momentum wouldn’t change much as the Suns were able to take a 29-28 lead into the second quarter. Deandre Ayton would leave the game in the final 3:18 of the quarter for the Suns as he appeared to have suffered a neck injury. Tim Hardaway Jr would lead the game in scoring as he scored 10 points on two of three shooting from behind the arc. Despite the Suns shooting 36.4% from the field, they were able to rely on their three point shooting as the shot 80% from behind the arc.
The Suns started the second quarter by going on 7-2 run to take a 36-30 lead as they were to able to build off the good first quarter. Jalen Brunson was able to hit a 26-foot three pointer to make it a one point game with 10:04 left in the quarter as the score was 36-35 in favor of the Suns. Dorian Finney-Smith was able to retake the lead for the Mavericks as he hit a 26-foot three pointer to lead 40-38. Rick Carlisle would call timeout with 6:26 left in the quarter to give the them a breather as the Mavericks were able to take a 42-40 lead. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks found Willie Cauley-Stein for an alley oop against the Suns defense that was caught sleeping. He would then convert again on the following possession for the Mavericks to go on a 4-0 personal run to give him six points in the game. An 8-0 run by the Mavericks was snapped as Mikal Bridges hit a 4-foot shot but the Mavericks were still leading 48-42. A technical foul had been called on Luka Doncic with 3:28 left in the quarter as he was arguing with the officials on a questionable no-call on the Mavericks possession. That would be Luka Doncic third person foul as he now is in foul trouble for the reminder of the game as that spells bad news for the Mavericks. The Suns were threatening to erase the Mavericks lead as they were able to come with in three points to make it 50-47. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks lead was evaporated as the Suns were able to comeback to end the quarter tied at 55-55. Chris Paul was the reason why the Suns were able to tie the game as he scored 11 points in the second quarter. The Mavericks have shown great improvement from last game as they were to play much harder and move the ball well on offense. The Mavericks were able rebound the well as they out rebounded the Suns 21-19. The good news is that the Mavericks are finally trending in the right direction as they desperately needed this type of performance but it will take a lot more to finish this game out with a victory.
Coming out of the half, Willie Cauley-Stein hit a 15-foot jumper as the shot clock expired to give the lead right back for the Mavericks to jump out in front 57-55. An 8-0 run by the Mavericks to begin the quarter was crucial as they start to breakaway from the Suns which resulted in them taking a timeout with 9:17 left in the quarter. The Suns started this quarter cold as they missed all of their first four shots taken while the Mavericks made three of their first four shots that was good enough for a 63-55 lead. Coming out of the timeout, the Suns couldn’t convert on offense as an offensive foul was called on Mikal Bridges. A basket by Mikal Bridges from the Suns was able to snap the Mavericks run and give them their first made basket in the quarter. Luka Doncic hit a 26-foot step-back jumper to give him 15 points in the game as he starts to heat up by going seven of 10 from the field. The only player contributing for the Suns was Mikal Bridges as there was nobody helping him as he scored the first six points for the Suns in the quarter. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 4:57 left in the quarter as the Suns were able to cut it to 74-63. The Suns were still in search of their first made three pointer as they have missed on five shots taken from behind the arc. Coming out of the timeout, Jalen Brunson couldn’t hit a three pointer which the Suns took advantage as Deandre Ayton made a tip-in shot to make it 74-65 with the Suns going on a 8-0 run. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were able to squash the Suns’ threat by ending the quarter leading 82-77 as this game heads into the final quarter. Luka Doncic was heavily involved in the third quarter as he was able to provide the Mavericks 18 points in the quarter.
The Suns were able to start the fourth quarter by going on a 5-0 run to tie this game at 82 and ultimately took the lead with Cameron Johnson hitting a 26-foot three point jumper to give them a 85-82 lead to extend the run to 8-0. Rick Carlisle was forced to take a timeout with 10:36 left in the game as the Suns caught fire by hitting their first three shots taken in the quarter. The Mavericks all of sudden found themselves on their heels as the Suns woke up in the final quarter and would need to generate some stops on defense if they want to come away with a victory. Coming out of the timeout, Josh Richardson was able to hit a 14-foot pull-up jump shot for the Mavericks to come within one point of the Suns lead. The Mavericks were able to take a brief 87-85 lead as Dorian Finney-Smith hit a 23-foot three point jumper but Chris Paul was there to answer for the Suns, to get this game tied at 87 with 9:33 left in the game. Tim Hardaway Jr was able to find James Johnson as he able to make an easy layup to regain the lead for the Mavericks with 7:59 left in the game. A pour effort on defense by the Mavericks resulted in the Suns taking the lead right back with Jae Crowder hitting a 26-foot three pointer but the Mavericks were able to seesaw in front with Tim Hardaway Jr hitting a pull-up jump shot to take a 91-90 lead. Dwight Powell would foul out with 5:30 left in the game as the Mavericks would need to find production in place of Powell. A technical foul was called on Chris Paul for arguing with the officials and as a result Josh Richardson made the free-throw to keep the Mavericks in front 94-92. Chris Paul would respond to the technical foul called on him with a 27-foot three pointer that resulted in the Suns taking a 95-94 lead. Willie Cauley-Stein would pick up his fifth personal foul with 3:54 left in the game as the Mavericks found themselves in foul trouble as they would need rim protection to stop the Suns threat. The game would be tied with Willie Cauley-Stein converting on an alley-oop that resulted in the Suns taking a timeout with 3:41 left in the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Suns were bailed out by Deandre Ayton picking up the loose ball for a slam dunk to take a 98-96 lead as this game heads into the final 2:00 minutes of the game. The Mavericks had a chance to tie or take the lead but Dorian Finney-Smith couldn’t convert off of a Luka Doncic pass that resulted in Chris Paul hitting a 14-foot shot to increase their lead to 100-96 as Rick Carlisle called timeout with 2:15 left in the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks went to Luka Doncic but he couldn’t covert as he missed a tough layup as a result the Suns found themselves on a 9-0 run by Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder hitting clutch shots. The Mavericks were forced to take their final timeout of the game that saw themselves trailing 105-96 with 1:05 left in the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Luka Doncic as he was able to convert on a quick basket which that’s exactly what the Mavericks needed at this stage in the game. The Suns were able to drain some of the clock but couldn’t get points out of it which gave the Mavericks an opportunity to do something. A Willie Cauley-Stein layup would make it 105-100 with 17.9 seconds left as they were forced to play the “foul game” with Suns since they were out of timeouts. The Suns were able to make both of their free-throws to make it a 107-100 lead. The Mavericks threat was all for not as they were out of timeouts and the Suns were able to milk out the rest of the clock.
This team looked much better as the energy and the effort were tremendous in this game. The Mavericks were able to respond to their struggles by finally having a good decent performance. The Mavericks were finding good open shots and not forcing them when it’s not there. The Suns fell apart in the third quarter and the Mavericks were able to use that to their advantage by taking over this game. The Mavericks saw their chance to finally end their losing streak with one quarter to go but Chris Paul had other plans as he found ways to make an impact for the Suns in the fourth quarter. This game was all about execution as it wasn’t there for the Mavericks.
In the end, it was the Phoenix Suns defeating the Dallas Mavericks 111-105. The Mavericks saw their record drop to 8-12 on the season as they saw their losing streak extend to five games. Luka Doncic finished the game with 29 points & 8 rebounds for the Mavericks. The Suns got production from Chris Paul by finishing the game with 29 points and 12 assists as he had a 16 point fourth that was crucial for the Suns. The Mavericks saw their tremendous third quarter go down the drain as it was all for not as they collapsed in the final quarter.
The Mavericks will continue to stay in Dallas as they stay to play the Suns again on Monday. The Mavericks will play 11 of the next 13 games at home as they hope to rely on their home court advantage to get them back on track.