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Doncic: “We need to attack in the paint”

The Dallas Mavericks are now down 3-2 in the series against the Phoenix Suns after losing Game 5 in Phoenix, but there is still a way they can win it.

Jennifer Bubel

After making a two-game comeback at home to tie the series, the Dallas Mavericks fell way short in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Phoenix Suns. The Suns completely dominated at home, beating the Mavs by 30 points, 110-80, while the Mavs committed 16 turnovers and had a measley nine assists. The series is now 3-2 as the teams head back to Dallas for Game 6.

The Mavericks will have to win the next two consecutive games, both at home and away in order to win this series, which will be no easy feat. They seemed to leave their defense and their shooting back in Dallas. Luka Doncic put up 28 points and 11 rebounds and Jalen Brunson scored 21. Apart from those two, there wasn’t much contribution from other players.

Doncic needs help

Luka Doncic is going to need way more support from his teammates if the Mavs want any chance of winning this. Of the few field goal attempts they made (71), 40 were from Doncic and Brunson. Every other player took no more than six. They need Dorian Finney-Smith, Reggie Bullock, and Maxi Kleber to be making shots as well. And Doncic and Brunson need to get them those opportunities.

The Mavericks need to get in the paint

When the Mavs get in the paint, they can score. When they don’t, it can be a problem. During halftime, reporter Bobby Karalla shared an incredible statistic on Twitter, showing just how big of a difference it makes when Dallas can get in the paint. They are scoring 0.7% more points per possession when inside the paint.

“We need to attack in the paint more,” said Doncic. “At our two home games, we did. But in the three away games, we didn’t. So we have to attack in the paint more.”

Doncic hit the nail on the head. In Game 5, the Mavs were settling for jumpers and took attempts too late in the shot clock. The Suns did a great job at stopping Doncic from getting to the rim and forcing him to step back. The Mavs have to be more physical against the No. 1 seed Suns if they want to play again after Thursday night.


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