From start to finish, the Phoenix Suns were in full control on Monday night.
The Suns rolled to a 121-114 win in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series against the Dallas Mavericks at the Footprint Center, taking an early series lead despite a 45-point night from Luka Doncic. Phoenix has now won 10 straight games against the Mavericks.
BROUGHT THE ENERGY FROM THE START.
Three more to go. ☄️ pic.twitter.com/EbMozMVVYa
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) May 3, 2022
The Suns didn’t miss a step out of the gate, opening the game on a 20-6 run. The Mavericks couldn’t stop them at all in the first half. Phoenix put up 69 points in the first 24 minutes while shooting nearly 64% from the field and 50% from behind the arc. Nineteen of Deandre Ayton’s 25 points were in the first half, when he shot 9-of-12 from the field.
It’s not that Dallas’ offense wasn’t working. Doncic dropped 26 points, and Maxi Kleber added 16 points with five 3-pointers off the bench for the Mavericks. Those two, however, were the only ones to score more than four points for Dallas in the opening half.
None of that changed in the second half. The Suns pushed their lead to 17 points by the end of the third after a dominant period perhaps best demonstrated by Devin Booker’s handling of Doncic on the wing.
By then, the game was essentially theirs. They cruised in the fourth quarter before fending off a late Dallas push to take the seven-point win and the 1-0 series lead.
Doncic outscored the rest of Dallas' starters combined and added 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Mavericks while shooting 15-of-30 from the field. Kleber finished with 19 points and Dorian Finney-Smith added 15 points.
Though his sample size is smaller, Doncic is now tied with Michael Jordan for the most points per game in NBA postseason history.
"He got everything he wanted," Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said of Doncic's night, via The Dallas Morning News' Callie Caplan.
"We've just got to get someone to help, to join the party."
Booker nearly had a triple-double for Phoenix, finishing with 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the win. Ayton had eight rebounds to go with his 25 points, and Chris Paul added 19 points while shooting 7-of-13 from the field. As a team, the Suns shot 50.5% from the field and had 13 offensive rebounds.
Game 2 of the series is set for Wednesday night.
"I've been with these guys all year," Kidd said, via WFAA's Mike Leslie. "They tend to bounce back ... there was a lot of good things that we did, that we'll continue. But we've got to rebound the ball. When you give up 13 offensive rebounds, it puts you at a dangerous spot."