DALLAS — Luka Doncic scored 33 points and the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Phoenix Suns 113-86 Thursday night to force a Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.
The home side have won all six games, none by a margin of less than seven points. The decisive game is in Phoenix on Sunday.
The Mavericks won when they were eliminated for the first time in three tries with Doncic, their three-time All-Star.
The two losses came in the last two seasons against the Clippers, including Game 7 in Los Angeles last year after the visitors won the first six games, a first in the playoffs. Dallas is playing past the first round for the first time since winning the title 11 years ago.
The Suns, looking to reach the West Finals for the second straight season, are going the distance in a series for the first time in two postseasons with Chris Paul and Devin Booker. The previous three became six, including Phoenix’s loss to Milwaukee in last year’s NBA Finals.
Booker scored 19 points but was left out of the 3-point range (0 of 4) while going 6 of 17. Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Paul added 13 points.
The top-seeded Suns were held at a season-low in the regular season or the playoffs for the second time in the series.
Reggie Bullock scored 19 points and Jalen Brunson added 18 for Dallas. Spencer Dinwiddie had a streak high of 15, all on 3s (5 of 7).
Doncic played through an apparent left leg injury that sent him to the dressing room even though he would have been out of the game in the second quarter anyway. He returned to the bench and rode a stationary bike before re-entering the game.
Shortly after, the Mavericks ended the first half with a crucial 19-5 run, turning a two-point lead into a 60-45 lead at halftime.
It was a home team replay of the third quarter of Game 5 as Phoenix went on a 17-0 run for an 18-point lead and ended up winning by 30 points.
Doncic, who had 11 rebounds and eight assists, struggled with his shot while battling the injury early on but had a 3 late in the first half and scored 10 in the third half to help the Mavericks extend their lead to 22 (94-72) to expand. .
For the most part, Paul avoided the turnover and foul problems that cost the Suns their first two losses in Dallas. But the 37-year-old point guard never played much of a role and only managed seven shots.
Booker was stuck on eight points while Dallas pulled away in the second and third quarters, opening the second half with a miss on an ill-advised 3 and not scoring another goal until the Suns dropped 21 points late in the third.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/13/luka-doncic-mavericks-crush-suns-to-push-series-to-game-7/ Luka Doncic, Mavericks crush Suns to take series to Game 7