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4 thoughts after the Dallas Mavericks destroy the Phoenix Suns in Game 7, 123-90

Western Conference Finals here we come!

Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns - Game Seven Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks completed their incredible comeback, defeating the Phoenix Suns in Game 7 on the road, 123-90. Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with 35 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists. Cam Johnson was the high point man for Phoenix with 12.

A couple of tight teams walked on to the court to start Game 7 Sunday evening. Luka Doncic poured in a quick eight points for Dallas but no other Maverick could connect on open looks. The Suns called a timeout, down 10-5 at the 6:30 mark and the Mavericks responded with a 5-0 run on a Maxi Kleber three and Doncic lay-in. Dallas failed to convert on numerous Suns miscues early and the Mavericks went scoreless until Spencer Dinwiddie came off the bench to hit two threes. The Mavericks finished the frame up 27-17.

Then something absolutely crazy happened and had I not witnessed it with my own eyes I wouldn’t quite believe it. The Suns scored three quick points to make it a 27-20 game. Then... Dallas absolutely ran Phoenix off the floor. Dallas went on a 30-7 run the remainder of the quarter, holding the Suns to just 10 points while Spencer Dinwiddie and Doncic simply buried the Suns. The two players combined for 48 of the 57 first half Dallas points. The Mavericks entered halftime up 57-27.

One might’ve thought the Suns would show some life in the third quarter and while they finally managed to score some points, the rest of the Mavericks (most of whom shot pretty poorly in the first quarter), found their offense. Jalen Brunson in particular led the early charge, hitting five straight to open the quarter. Everyone got in on the action though, as the Mavericks lead extended to as many as 42 in the frame. Entering the final quarter, Dallas led 92-50. That is not a typo.

The fourth quarter was all garbage time, with everyone on Dallas getting some run and the Suns trying to make the game somewhat respectable. Everyone in a Mavericks uniform got a chance to play and Dallas walked away with a 123-90 victory. The win completes a comeback after starting the series 0-2, the Mavericks rallied back to win four of the next five.

Now, some thoughts

The Dallas defense is absolutely incredible

I’m going to have to watch this game again to understand what all Dallas did to put the Suns in basketball prison, but what they did worked in ways beyond even the most optimistic fan’s wildest dreams. The help-and-recover scheme Dallas has ran all year paid wild dividends, forcing some of the best players in basketball into horrendous performances. Though Chris Paul and Devin Booker finished a combined 7 of 22 from the floor, most of those makes happened well after the Dallas lead was well into the double digits. Kudos to Jason Kidd and the coaching staff and the Mavericks players for putting the Suns in quicksand and refusing to throw them a rope.

Luka Doncic breaks gameplans

It’s impossible to say anything that we haven’t already said about Doncic the past several years. Friends and family asked me what chance Dallas had in Phoenix and my response mainly focused on Doncic having a positive regression game from three. He came out early and connected on a tough mid-range fadeaway then hit two deep threes. That seemed to rattle the Suns, who couldn’t hit anything on offense. From there, it was off to the races. The Suns never led in a Game 7 on their home floor.

Spencer Dinwiddie to the rescue

Dallas had not won in Phoenix since November of 2019. In order to win a Game 7 on the road, someone would have to be an equalizer for Dallas. Enter Spencer Dinwiddie, who played easily his best game of the playoffs at the most important time. Dinwiddie hit two early threes and it opened the floodgates both for Dallas generally but for Dinwiddie specifically, who got past defenders for drives which resulted in drawn fouls and lay ups. This was the idealized version of Dinwiddie we’d been hoping to see since the regular season ended. 30 points in a playoff road Game 7! Who would’ve predicted that before tonight!

Jalen Brunson, closer

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that Jalen Brunson closed the door on Phoenix. Brunson had a bit of a frustrating first half, with a number of misses that he usually makes. He came out firing in the second half and put a very quick end to any consideration of a Phoenix comeback. His 12 points and playmaking were key in the third quarter as the game got put to bed.

Here’s our latest episode of Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you’re unable to see the embed below, click here to be taken to the podcast directly. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search Mavs Moneyball Podcast.