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 night time’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 dwelling flooring on Sunday.

Luka Doncic was implausible 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 to be able 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 publish footwork

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

Whereas Doncic did not all of the sudden flip into prime Scottie Pippen, he was a minimum of collaborating on that finish in Recreation 3. And in reality, 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 usually 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 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 approach into one other straightforward bucket:

Eight of Doncic’s 11 area objectives got here on the rim, as he labored his approach inside early and infrequently 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 fingers. 

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 regular. He both scored or assisted on 43 of the Mavericks’ 76 area objectives (56.6 %) in Video games 1 and a pair of. That is spectacular, nevertheless it’s additionally not a recipe for fulfillment in opposition to a staff as nice because the Suns. 

Dallas wanted its position gamers to step up and supply another offensive choices in the event that they wished 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 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 best way and completed with 28 factors, 4 rebounds and 5 assists in by far his finest sport of the sequence. 

The Mavericks will want Brunson to hold this over into Recreation 4 in the event that they wish 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 through 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, now we have to acknowledge that this was only a unusual efficiency by the Suns. The primary jiffy went properly, however after that, they regarded nothing just like the staff that had cruised to a 2-0 sequence lead and regarded like the category of the Western Convention. They have been sloppy with the ball, lacking pictures they normally 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 sport in his profession. The Mavericks’ protection performed a component, however there have been a bunch of uncharacteristic performs the place Paul simply misplaced the ball or threw an off-target cross. 

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

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

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