Suns vs. Mavericks rating, takeaways: Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson lead Dallas to essential Recreation 3 win over Phoenix

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The Dallas Mavericks have newfound life of their best-of-seven sequence in opposition to the Phoenix Suns following Friday evening’s 103-94 victory in Recreation 3 to assist Dallas keep away from what would simply be thought-about an insurmountable 3-0 deficit. With the win, the Mavericks now have the chance to even the sequence on their house flooring on Sunday.

Luka Doncic was improbable for Dallas within the win ending the sport with 26 factors, 13 rebounds and 9 assists however he additionally had loads of assist as 4 different Mavericks gamers scored in double figures, led by Jalen Brunson’s game-high 28 factors. On the opposite finish, Phoenix’s whole beginning lineup scored in double figures however they didn’t obtain sufficient help from their bench with a purpose to maintain tempo with Dallas. 

We’ll see what occurs subsequent when these two groups meet once more this Sunday. 

Listed here are three key takeaways from the sport:

1. Doncic places on a present with put up footwork

The Suns pulled away from the Mavericks in Recreation 2 largely as a result of they attacked Luka Doncic again and again on the defensive finish, and he had no solutions. It was so unhealthy that Doncic received referred to as out by head coach Jason Kidd, who stated he wanted to “take part and play protection.”

Whereas Doncic did not all of a sudden flip into prime Scottie Pippen, he was not less than collaborating on that finish in Recreation 3. And in fact, that is greater than sufficient when he is dominating on the offensive aspect of the ball. Although hampered by foul hassle at instances, Doncic put collectively one other terrific efficiency on Friday, ending with 26 factors, 13 rebounds, 9 assists and two steals in simply 34 minutes. 

However whereas Doncic sometimes amazes along with his passing or step-back 3-pointers, he went deep into his bag of methods in Recreation 3 and placed on a present along with his put up footwork. He completely cooked Deandre Ayton with a basic up-and-under:

Then he took Devin Booker into the paint and faked and pivoted his method into one other straightforward bucket:

Eight of Doncic’s 11 area targets got here on the rim, as he labored his method inside early and sometimes in Recreation 3. Whereas Doncic must play his half on protection, this sport was one other reminder that he makes his cash when he has the ball in his palms. 

2. Brunson, Mavs position gamers step up

The primary two video games of this sequence have been the Luka Doncic present for the Mavericks on offense — much more so than typical. He both scored or assisted on 43 of the Mavericks’ 76 area targets (56.6 %) in Video games 1 and a pair of. That is spectacular, but it surely’s additionally not a recipe for fulfillment in opposition to a group as nice because the Suns. 

Dallas wanted its position gamers to step up and supply another offensive choices in the event that they needed an opportunity to get again on this sequence. To their credit score, they did precisely that on Friday evening. The bench factors have been pretty even — 18-17 in favor of the Mavericks — however the different starters round Doncic have been terrific. Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson all scored in double figures, and mixed for 47 factors. 

Brunson, particularly, was key. He was superior within the first spherical in opposition to the Utah Jazz, carrying the Mavericks on the time in Doncic’s absence. However in opposition to the Suns he had been unable to get something going. That modified in Recreation 3, as he got here out aggressive and had 10 factors within the first quarter. He stored that mindset up the remainder of the way in which and completed with 28 factors, 4 rebounds and 5 assists in by far his greatest sport of the sequence. 

The Mavericks will want Brunson to hold this over into Recreation 4 in the event that they need to tie the sequence. 

3. Paul, Suns off their sport

The Mavericks deserve loads of credit score for the way they responded in Recreation 3. They have been down 2-0 and had been embarrassed at instances in Phoenix in the course of the first two video games. This was a big-time assertion that they weren’t about to lie down and let the Suns stroll throughout them en path to the Western Convention finals. 

On the similar time, we’ve to acknowledge that this was only a unusual efficiency by the Suns. The primary couple of minutes went nicely, however after that, they seemed nothing just like the group that had cruised to a 2-0 sequence lead and seemed like the category of the Western Convention. They have been sloppy with the ball, lacking pictures they often make and simply typically appeared out of types. 

Nothing epitomized that greater than Chris Paul’s seven turnovers within the first half. He did not have that many turnovers within the first two video games mixed and had by no means had even six turnovers in a half in a playoff sport in his profession. The Mavericks’ protection performed an element, however there have been a bunch of uncharacteristic performs the place Paul simply misplaced the ball or threw an off-target move. 

Within the weirdest second of all, he turned down a wide-open layup to throw a hook move along with his left hand that caught Deandre Ayton utterly off guard. 

Once more, the Mavericks received this sport. This is not to remove from what they completed, however reasonably to not that it was an odd efficiency from Paul — on his birthday, no much less. 

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