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NBA

Mavs’ Doncic admits to exaggerating contact for Paul foul

Chris Paul fouled out early in the fourth quarter as the Dallas Mavericks evened their playoff series up with the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

Update:
DALLAS, TX - MAY 6: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks handles the ball as Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns defends during the second half of Game Three of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals at American Airlines Center on May 6, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. The Mavericks won 103-94. 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
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Ron JenkinsAFP

Luka Doncic admitted he exaggerated contact from Chris Paul to get him into foul trouble after the Dallas Mavericks’ 111-101 win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. Doncic came up with 26 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds in the Game 4 win but the Mavs’ win and levelling of their playoff series was aided by Chris Paul fouling out early in the fourth quarter.

Paul foul ‘manufactured’ by Doncic

Doncic was a key factor in that regard, tumbling towards the baseline after both went up for a rebound and earning a fourth foul for Paul just before half-time. The 23-year-old declared his respect for Paul and his impact on the Suns, but also hinted he gave the notorious flopper a taste of his own medicine with the tumble and ensuing exchange between the two.

“He [Paul] is one of the best point guards this league has ever had,” Doncic said. “His mentality is insane, the way he sees the court, his IQ is amazing, so I think it was big time. He was in foul trouble, so we tried to get after him and if you don’t have CP out there, it’s for sure tougher on their team.

“I saw he was going for the rebound and I was surprised. He said to me if I pushed him that hard. I said, ‘No, not that hard, but it was a smart play.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I know.’”

In other NBA news:

Finney-Smith steps up for Doncic dip

While Doncic had a particularly poor shooting night, shooting one-of-10 from the perimeter, he was critical in creating good shots for his teammates. Dorian Finney-Smith was the primary beneficiary, making a playoff career-high 24 points on eight-of-12 from beyond the arc.

Doncic singled Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock out post-match, specifically for how they’ve been able to limit Paul’s ability to attack the paint as the series has gone on. For the Mavs to win the series though, the three-time All-Star believes Dallas have to show the same intensity and determination on the road.

“That’s Reg [Bullock] and Doe [Finney-Smith], those two guys are warriors,” Doncic said. “Those two guys, they don’t complain about how many shots they get, they just play hard, play defence and I’m really happy to have both of them on our team.

“We’ve got to play the same way on away games, though. I think the fans helped out a lot, with their energy, but we’ve got to bring this energy to away games.

“I think it’s going to come down to who wins the first away game – maybe, I don’t know, but we’ve got to play with the same energy.”

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