PHOENIX – Difficulties hit too hard against the Dallas Mavericks. In fact, 76.8 percent in Game 7s NBA history won by the home team.
In other words, the Mavs likely have a better chance of winning the Powerball than winning Game 7 on the home court of the mighty Phoenix Suns, who easily became the best team in the NBA this season. But the Mavs took those stats, crushed them, threw them in the trash and then came out and shocked the world and the Suns, 123-90, Sunday night at the Footprint Center.
The shocking win rocked the NBA and helped the Mavs capture this best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals series, 4-3, and sent the Suns into the summer of heartache.
“No one gave us a chance,” coach Jason Kidd said. “A lot of people say it’s an explosion.
“Well, they are right. But they didn’t have us on the winning side. ”
In fact, all 20 ESPN writers covering the NBA chose the Suns to win this series. But the Mavs came out and led wire-to-wire as they dominated the Suns team with the best league record this season at 64-18, and the league’s best home record at 32-9.
“I know we were the underdogs,” said point guard Luka Doncic. “Everyone has the Suns to win it, but like I said the whole locker room believes and that’s what won us the game.”
The Mavs will now advance to the Western Conference Finals – for the first time since 2011 – against the Golden State Warriors. Game 1 of that best-of-seven series will take place this Wednesday in San Francisco at 8 p.m.
Game 2 also goes to San Francisco on Friday at 8 p.m. before the series moves to Dallas for Game 3 on May 22 at 8 p.m. and Game 4 on May 24 at 8 p.m. If needed, Game 5 on May 26 in San Francisco at 8 p.m., Game 6 in Dallas on May 28 at 8 p.m. and Game 7 in San Francisco on May 30 at 7 p.m. night
All night against the Suns, the Mavs were the aggressors and played a big chip on their shoulders. When the Mavs didn’t attack the basket, they dropped three-pointers and spun the Suns like the tip and wondered where they were going.
The Mavs also got the Suns ’last nerve through their chest-to-chest full-court defense that limited Phoenix to just 37.9 percent shooting. Things turned so bad for the Suns that they were ridiculed by their own fans when they entered the halftime dressing room left with a stunning 57-27 record.
At halftime, Doncic had already scored 27 points – or as many as the entire Suns team. And at that point, Maxi Kleber had three points-or as many as the combined overall of their Suns All-Stars Devin Booker and Chris Paul, who were 0-of-11 from the field for three points in the middle point of the game. .
Asked if he knew he had as many points as the Suns at halftime, Doncic bluntly said: “Yes, of course.”
The 27 points scored by the Suns that shocked the shell in the first half were the smallest points scored in the first half by a home team in Game 7. And the Suns ’30-point halftime deficit was the largest. halftime deficit in Game 7 in NBA playoff history.
“We weren’t watching the explosion,” Kidd said. “We just went in and implemented our game plan. I think they came out like it was just a game and played it on a high level offensively and defensively. We are active.
“You can see some of the pressure maybe in (the Suns) early on, because they didn’t get the shots they usually do. But I think the guys did a good job in 48 minutes.
The Mavs surprisingly led by 46 points (111-65) after Spencer Dinwiddie scored a three-pointer in the middle of the fourth quarter. While Doncic finished with 35 points and 10 rebounds and 12-of-19 from the field, Dinwiddie was off the bench and threw for 30 points and 11-of-15 from the floor, including 5-of-7 from in downtown.
“I’m still shocked,” Dinwiddie said. “The best basketball team of the whole season. You have to give them credit for the time they have.
“We’re confident of coming into the game. We really believe we can win the game. But I don’t think anyone is calling a 33 point win, anyway.
Led by Booker (11 points) and Paul (10 points), the Suns starters combined for just 37 points – or two points more than Doncic. And Doncic didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
Doncic set the stage as he scored the Mavs ’first eight points and saw with his own eyes that it wasn’t a game he would let his team lose. By the end of the first quarter, Doncic had 12 points and eight rebounds.
“He’s Luke,” Kidd said. “She loves the stage. (The stage) grows, he heals.
“I think he set the tone to involve everyone and take shots when they present themselves.”
A shot Doncic got that showed himself happened just before halftime when he shook Cameron Johnson so hard that Johnson fell to the floor. Doncic went on to finish the game and fired a three-pointer to add to the Mavs ’lead to 57-27.
“I had fun,” Doncic said. “I always say that when I’m having fun that’s the way I play best.”
And if Doncic is at his best, opponents are at his mercy. And that’s not a good thing for opponents, which happened to the Suns.
“Honestly, I’m really happy, man,” Doncic said. “You can’t get this smile on my face right now.
“Actually. I think we deserve it. We played really well throughout the series – maybe some of the games here weren’t our own. But we knew we came here with a Game 7 statement. We believed, our locker room believed, everyone believed, so I was just happy.
Guard Jalen Brunson was also happy. After a slow start on Sunday, Brunson collected 24 points and six rebounds and was 11-of-19 from the field.
The home team has won the last six games of this series, but the Mavs completely ignored that. The clash was in stark contrast as the Mavs led by 46 points (111-65) after Dinwiddie nailed a three-pointer with 6:22 left in the game.
Asked to explain how quickly they managed the Suns, Brunson said: “I can’t really explain that. It’s so crazy. I think first and foremost you have to give them credit.
“They’re the best team in the league since the bubble (2020). They’re a good team, a well-coached team. We really didn’t expect this kind of outcome the way it used to be, but we know we thought we had a chance to win this game. And we kept that faith in each other and we just did what we had to do tonight. ”
The Mavs led 92-50 after the third quarter and finished 56.8 percent from the field and converted 19 baskets on 39 attempts from downtown.
It was a repeat of the fortune series for the Mavs, who heard Phoenix fans shout: “Suns in four, Suns in four,” after Dallas dropped the first two games of this series on the road. But the Mavs came home and regrouped and won four of the last five games of this series, including The head-turner on Sunday rocked the NBA.
“I think it’s a good team win against one of – if not – the best teams in basketball right now,” Kidd said. “Going on the road and finding a way to win – it all has to do with it. It’s a good win.
“We were a young team, first year coaching staff, we got to know each other. But we had some special people in that locker room who believed in the team. Many times in this league when you’re a team, you’ll find yourself winning games you don’t need.