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Dallas Defended Its Home Court And Picked Up A Win Over Phoenix In Game 3

The Dallas Mavericks will not find themselves in position to get swept in the Western Conference Semifinals. Dallas played host to the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 of their series on Friday night, and thanks to a monster game by the team’s starting backcourt, the Mavericks were able to pick up a 103-94 win to make the series 2-1 in favor of the Suns.

After losing the first quarter in each of the first two games of the series, Dallas came out in front of their home fans at the American Airlines Center and led 29-20 after one. While Phoenix shot better from three and from the field, the Mavericks got an extra 10 shots in the frame by reeling in four offensive rebounds and forcing four turnovers.

That, mixed with 10 early points from Jalen Brunson and Luka Doncic getting well on his way to a triple-double (seven points, seven rebounds, five assists), helped Dallas get an early edge.

The Mavs looked like they were going to cruise into the locker room, leading by double-digits for much of the second quarter and extending their lead to 14 with just under three minutes remaining in the frame thanks to a triple by Dorian Finney-Smith.

If there is one thing the Suns have shown over and over again these last two years, it’s that you cannot let them see a hint of daylight or else they’re going to take advantage. After Finney-Smith’s three, Phoenix ripped off seven consecutive points, and after trading buckets dow the stretch, Dallas took a 51-44 lead into the locker room. Doncic had 16 with nine boards and six assists, while Brunson had 14. Jae Crowder led the way for the Suns with 11 points, Devin Booker had nine, Deandre Ayton had eight, and Chris Paul had seven with an uncharacteristic seven turnovers.

Doncic and Brunson continued to give the Suns defense headaches throughout the third. Dallas’ general plan to attack the paint put those two in situations where they repeatedly went at the rim, which helped them combine to score 47 of the team’s 82 points through three.

The Mavericks got their lead up to as many as 17 in the fourth when disaster potentially struck, as a dubious foul call against Doncic with 8:07 left gave him five on the game and led to him going to the bench. Phoenix immediately responded, with Booker and Paul hitting shots to get the lead down to 12 and forcing Jason Kidd to call a timeout.

The Suns kept chipping away, getting it down to a single-digit game on a pair of Mikal Bridges free throws with just more than four minutes left. But Dallas had an answer, and it kept having answers, and when Phoenix got it down to eight and nearly forced a turnover with just under a minute remaining, it appeared like one final push was in the cards.

That ended up not being the case. The Mavericks were able to get the ball to Reggie Bullock in the corner, and the veteran sharpshooter did what he’s done so well over the course of his playing career.

Brunson led all scorers with 28 points to go along with five assists and four rebounds, while Doncic had 26 with 13 boards and nine dimes. Bullock scored 15, and both Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber pitched in 14. Crowder’s night — 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals — was the most productive for the Suns. Booker had 18 and Ayton had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Game 4 between the Mavericks and Suns will take place on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.