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Doncic dazzles as the Mavs force Game 7

The Dallas Mavericks take the Western Conference’s first seed to seven games, after they blew the Phoenix Suns out 113-86. Doncic ended with 33+11+8+4.

DALLAS, TEXAS - MAY 12: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks dribbles the ball downcourt against Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns in the fourth quarter of Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals at American Airlines Center on May 12, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   Ron Jenkins/Getty Images/AFP
Ron JenkinsAFP

Just over a week ago, the Mavs were 2-0 down in their second round series against the Phoenix Suns. After winning Game 3 last Friday, Luka Doncic declared that the team would never stop believing and they showed that a miracle is still possible by blowing away the top seeds 113-86 with an exhibition display at the American Airlines Center. Jason Kidd’s men prevailed in a spectacular show of grit, pride and survival to take the series to a decisive seventh game.

The Mavs dominated from start to finish with Doncic as their spiritual leader, coming close to completing a triple-double - he ended with 33 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. The Slovenian’s ability to find his teammates for open looks has been consistent throughout the series but their ability to knock them down has fluctuated. On Thursday, the Texans were as entertaining as they were extrovert, shooting 41 per cent from the perimeter for the win.

Team effort in Dallas

Reggie Bullock chipped in with 19 points, going 5 of 11 from 3-point range after being held scoreless and getting just five shots total in Game 5. Jalen Brunson contributed 18 while Spencer Dinwiddie hit a series-high 15 - all on 3s (5 of 7). For the Suns, Devin Booker went two-of-10 with the game in the balance in the second and third quarters, as the Suns hoped to close the series out, finishing with 19 points on six-of-17 shooting. But Phoenix simply did not take care of the basketball, coughing it up 22 times with the Mavs scoring 29 points in transition off those turnovers.

Mavs coach Jason Kidd told reporters afterwards, “Games 3, 4 and 6 have been similar - 1,2 and 5 have been similar... Here at home, we held them, our defense was great - everyone participated, Frank [Ntilikina] was great and offensively we had some carry-over from our film session so all good. Reggie was great tonight, he’s been great all series. Again, we’ve asked him to guard everybody and he’s been up for the challenge. We started him on Booker, to see what would happen there. Booker is an incredibly tough player but Reg did a good job and we are going to need that energy from everybody. There was a lot of good stuff tonight, and now we’ve got to find our way to win on Sunday”.

A trip to the West finals will be at stake when the two teams scrap it out in Phoenix in Game 7 this weekend - with the Suns looking to make a second consecutive trip to the conference finals. Doncic and the Mavs however, have ideas of their own.


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