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

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

Luka Doncic was unbelievable 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 complete beginning lineup scored in double figures however they didn’t obtain sufficient help from their bench with a purpose to preserve tempo with Dallas. 

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

Listed below are three key takeaways from the sport:

1. Doncic places on a present with publish footwork

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

Whereas Doncic did not instantly flip into prime Scottie Pippen, he was at the very least collaborating on that finish in Sport 3. And in fact, that is greater than sufficient when he is dominating on the offensive aspect of the ball. Although hampered by foul bother 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 usually amazes together with his passing or step-back 3-pointers, he went deep into his bag of tips in Sport 3 and placed on a present together with his publish 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 means into one other simple bucket:

Eight of Doncic’s 11 discipline objectives got here on the rim, as he labored his means inside early and infrequently in Sport 3. Whereas Doncic must play his half on protection, this recreation was one other reminder that he makes his cash when he has the ball in his fingers. 

2. Brunson, Mavs function 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 standard. He both scored or assisted on 43 of the Mavericks’ 76 discipline objectives (56.6 p.c) in Video games 1 and a pair of. That is spectacular, however it’s additionally not a recipe for achievement towards a crew as nice because the Suns. 

Dallas wanted its function 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 night time. 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 towards the Utah Jazz, carrying the Mavericks on the time in Doncic’s absence. However towards the Suns he had been unable to get something going. That modified in Sport 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 finest recreation of the sequence. 

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

3. Paul, Suns off their recreation

The Mavericks deserve numerous credit score for the way they responded in Sport 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 identical time, we now have to acknowledge that this was only a unusual efficiency by the Suns. The primary couple of minutes went nicely, however after that, they appeared nothing just like the crew that had cruised to a 2-0 sequence lead and appeared like the category of the Western Convention. They have been sloppy with the ball, lacking photographs they often make and simply usually 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 recreation 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 together with his left hand that caught Deandre Ayton utterly off guard. 

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

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