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Damion Lee’s Falling Game-Winner Capped Off A 22-Point Comeback By The Suns Over The Mavs

Five months ago the Dallas Mavericks went into Phoenix and ended the Suns season in shocking fashion, dismantling the 1-seed in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals in a 33-point win.

That sparked what was a rather dismal offseason for the Suns, with the most notable on-court storyline being Deandre Ayton’s future, with them unable to find a sign-and-trade for the young star center (who was benched in that Game 7) and ultimately matching an offer sheet on him. Because the NBA loves a good mess, they set the Suns up for a chance at redemption or mockery in their opener on Wednesday night by sending those same Mavs to Phoenix to start the season.

In the first half, it looked like we were headed for yet another blowout win by Dallas, as Luka Doncic (35 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists) and Christian Wood (25 points, 8 rebounds) torched the Suns, leading by 17 at the half and as many as 22 early in the third quarter. However, the Suns would show some fight this time around, led by Devin Booker’s 28-point night and a second half surge from Ayton, who finished with 18 points and 10 boards, and finished off by an unlikely source.

The Suns would claw their way back into the game, despite the best efforts of Wood who at one point in the fourth scored 16 consecutive points for the Mavs before heading to the bench for a spell, despite Chris Paul and Cam Johnson sitting down the stretch in the fourth. Cam Payne and Damion Lee took their places and the latter put forth some heroics, scoring 11 points (all in the fourth) including the game-winner on a ridiculous falling away shot on the baseline.

Doncic, who had just tied the game driving to the paint for an and-1, did not try to get downhill again and left a deep stepback three to win short off the rim, giving the Suns a wild comeback win that will raise spirits considerably in Phoenix and be a tough pill to swallow in Dallas.

The Mavs will still be pleased with what Wood showed in his debut, but losing that game is brutal given the lead they held and how dominant they appeared. For Phoenix, what would’ve been a loss that sparked a million thinkpieces on the end of the Suns as we know them became a gutty win that shows a resilience from this team we haven’t seen since their Finals run and puts to rest, at least for a bit, the questions of whether this group has run its course together.