Luka Doncic came close to a triple-double during a clutch victory for the Dallas Mavs in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals during a 27-point blowout against the Phoenix Suns. The Mavs staved off elimination in Game 6 and tied the series at 3-3 to force a Game 7 against the Suns in Phoenix on Sunday.
The #4 Mavs have a chance to upset the #1 Suns, but they’ll have a tough task ahead of them with the Suns hosting Game 7 on their home court at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. The home team has won every game in this series. The Suns won the first two games at home to take a 2-0 series lead. The Mavs won the next two games in Dallas to even the series. The Suns won Game 5 in Phoenix to surge ahead 3-2, but the Mavs tied the series after a Game 6 victory in the Big D.
At the start of this series, the Mavs were +245 underdogs to advance to the Western Conference finals, whereas the Suns were the big favorite to win the series at -300 odds.
Heading into Game 7, the Suns are -260 odds to win the series, and the Mavs are +210 odds. Bookies installed the Suns as a -6 favorite in Game 7 with a tip-off time that’s yet to be determined.
Luka’s posse outguns the Suns
Once again, the four starters not named Luka provided a big offensive boost for the Mavs. Reggie Bullock scored 19 points with five 3-pointers, and Jalen Brunson added 18 points. Doncic led all scorers with 33 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists in 35 minutes of action.
“I don’t know if he was playing as if he was trying to do something different,” said head coach Jason Kidd. “He enjoys the moment. You guys have seen a little bit longer than I have up close. He’s not afraid of the stage. I think you guys call it the first time winning an elimination game. He’ll be in this situation a long, long time.”
The Mavs outgunned the Suns with 16 made 3-pointers versus just six for Phoenix. That’s a 30-point differential from beyond the arc. The Suns connected on just 33% of their treys versus 41% for the Mavs.
The Mavs also got to the free-throw line 36 times and knocked down more free throws (27) than the Suns attempted (21).
“We won this game on the defensive end,” said Doncic. “We’ve got another game. That’s fun. It’s playoffs, and we’re going to give our energy.”
Black hole Suns
The Suns fell behind early in Game 6 and never recovered. The Mavs pulled away in the second quarter and went into the locker room with a 15-point halftime lead. The Suns saw their deficit expand to 22 points by the start of the fourth quarter, yet failed to launch a last-gasp rally before losing by 27 points.
“I don’t have enough time to talk about everything that’s eating at me,” said Suns head coach Monty Williams. “I didn’t think we understood the desperation they were going to play with. Couple that with the turnovers that we had tonight, it’s a recipe for what we just got.”
The Suns coughed up the ball 22 times in Game 6 compared to just seven for the Mavs. Anytime you lose the turnover battle by double digits, it’s going to be an ugly outcome. The Mavs leveraged those extra possessions with 29 points off turnovers, including 21 fast-break points.
Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 21 points in a losing effort. He shot an efficient 10-for-16 from the floor. Devin Booker added 19 points, but contributed eight turnovers.
At least the Suns get to host Game 7 in Phoenix, where they’re 3-0 versus the Mavs in this series.
“Game 7: the greatest two words in sports,” said Booker. “I’m excited to feel the energy. I’m excited to be a part of it. It’s a great opportunity.”
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