The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Phoenix Suns 123-90 in Game 7 to win their Western Conference semifinals matchup. This game is much more difficult to write about than it was for the Mavericks to play it. Luka Doncic came out aggressive and efficient. Luka handed the baton to Spencer Dinwiddie who played his best game of the playoffs. The Mavericks leapt out to a 57-27 lead including a 33-5 run at one point spanning the second and third quarters. The Mavericks never looked back.
Here are the stats to know.
27: Number of points Luka Doncic scored in the first half
He went on to finish with 35 despite playing only 30 minutes. He set the tone early with eight quick points and then matched the entire Suns output in the first half. There are certainly other players who have an argument for being the best player in the world, but Luka is in the thick of that conversation right now.
30: Number of points Spencer Dinwiddie scored
Dinwiddie has struggled throughout much of the playoffs but he has come alive over the last two games. He was also very good in Game 6 against the Utah Jazz. Perhaps he simply needs multiple looks to study an opponent’s defense while simultaneously lulling them into a false sense of security.
17: Number of minutes Deandre Ayton played
The Suns hesitated to give Ayton big money because of concerns over the value of a rim running center in the current NBA (might have made sense to consider the value of that player archetype before passing on a generational scorer and playmaker from the wing). The Suns cannot feel better about giving him that big contract now. This is a credit to the incredible defensive efforts of the team as a whole and especially Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber.
3: Number of blocks for Maxi Kleber
Kleber also had only three points, but do not let that number fool you. His defensive value has never been more evident than in this game. Phoenix scored only 27 points in the first half when the game was still being contested. The blocks do not even do justice to how well he played on the defensive end. The Suns have relied on their backcourt over matching the defenders throughout the season. Kleber was able to defend them and that caused them huge problems.
4: Number of turnovers for Devin Booker
Booker is a phenomenal player. But he is not anywhere near as good as Luka despite believing that he is. This number is one more than the three made field goals Booker had tonight. Game 7 is where superstars show up. Luka showed up and Booker didn’t.
There are a nearly infinite number of stats that could be posted from this game. But continuing to rattle on about them does the game a disservice. This was a basketball masterpiece from the Mavericks and it deserves to be appreciated as a whole rather than parsed into individual tidbits.
Bonus Stat: 8
Number of playoff games the Mavericks have won AND the number of playoff games the Mavericks still need to win.
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