Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks NBA Playoffs Game 3 Recap

Phoenix Suns Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Phoenix Suns defended the Footprint Center with cannon-fire, catapults, stone walls, and gator-filled moats during Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals this past week. Even as the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Doncic laid siege, the Suns stood strong, winning both contests and jumping out to a 2-0 series lead.

For Dallas though, this failed attack was not Doncic’s fault. He dropped 45 points during Game 1 and followed that with a 35-point outing that included five 3-pointers.

Regardless, the Suns proved once again that a balanced attack always wins against a one-man show. Phoenix moved the ball exceptionally well vs Dallas during their earlier games this week while watching their star players take turns tormenting the opposition, rather than instituting any “hero ball.”

After all that, the series shifted to Dallas on Friday evening with the Suns looking to position themselves for a second round sweep in back-to-back seasons. But Mavericks head coach, former Suns point guard, Jason Kidd, had other plans though.

Following Game 2, he called out the players on his team aside from Doncic, looking to provide a spark ahead of Friday’s contest.

“[Doncic] had a great game, but no one else showed,” Kidd said after the game. “We’ve got to get other guys shooting the ball better. We can’t win with just him out there scoring 30 a night, not at this time of the year. And we’re playing the best team in the league, so we’ve got to get other guys going.”

Jalen Brunson, who dominated in the Mavericks’ first-round series against the Utah Jazz, took Kidd’s advice to heart.

Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks Game 3 – First Half

To open Game 3, Brunson scored 14 points to keep pace with Doncic’s 16. The Dallas crowd fed off Brunson’s activity, and in return offered more energy to juice up the players to an even further extent.

On the other side, Chris Paul entered Game 3 for the Suns celebrating his 37th birthday, likely hoping to put on a show while doing so.

He hit some big shots toward the end of the second quarter to keep the Mavericks from breaking the game open. CP3 trotted into halftime with just seven points though, shooting 3-5 from the field.

His surrounding cast played reasonably well, especially Jae Crowder, who contributed with 11 points at the half. Devin Booker chipped in with nine points, while Deandre Ayton included eight. Oddly enough, it was Phoenix’s typically well-fortified defense that let them down, as the Mavs boasted a 51-44 lead at the break.

Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks Game 3 – Second Half

The third quarter ended up going in the same direction as the first half. Doncic and Brunson once again led the way for Dallas. Luka Magic scored seven points in the third, while Brunson added 10.

For Phoenix, only Crowder and Booker seemed to come back onto the floor after the break, as they got little help in the third period. Booker scored six points and Crowder added eight. They stood responsible for 14 of the Suns’ 23 points in that frame.

The high-caliber play from Doncic and Brunson combined with Phoenix’s lopsided attack allowed Dallas to carry a 14-point lead heading into the fourth. Paul’s birthday party certainly wasn’t going the way he planned it

Although the Suns put up a better fight in the final quarter, especially at the defensive end, it proved too little too late. The Mavericks held on to secure their first win of the series by a 103-94 final score. Brunson had answered Kidd’s call, as he led the Mavericks with 28 points, followed by Doncic with 26 points.

Crowder finished as Phoenix’s leading scorer with 19 points, and Booker followed closely with 18 points. The birthday boy, Chris Paul, scored 12 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and handed out four assists.

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Looking to get back on track, Phoenix’s next bout with the Mavericks tips on Sunday again on the road.