Chris Paul had a bad offensive night, but still helped push his team to victory.
The Phoenix Suns were tasked with downing the Dallas Mavericks on an evening in which the team from Texas was down their biggest star, Luka Doncic. Although it might not have been pretty, the Suns ended the game on a 9-2 run and have now won 10 straight games for the first time since 2010.
Devin Booker finished with 24 points and 9 rebounds, Chris Paul had 14 assists and Deandre Ayton posted 19 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists and a block. Off the bench, JaVale McGee had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks.
The Mavericks made 16 of 32 threes on the night while Jalen Brunson nearly posted a triple-double (16 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists), nearly good enough to surprise a sleepy Suns team.
Cameron Johnson had two big fourth-quarter threes to keep the Suns alive, then the combo of Paul, Booker and Ayton pushed the Suns into the lead and Mikal Bridges helped keep the Suns lead with incredible defense in the final minutes.
The Suns are now 11-3 after beating feisty Mavericks, 105-98.
It was the Devin Booker show early at the Footprint Center as the Mavericks had no answer for his strong start. It isn’t anything new. During the 9-game winning streak Booker has led all Suns scorers with 7.9 point-per-first quarter. That is 4th best in the NBA during that timeframe.
Book shot 5-of-8 in Q1 for 11 points.
Landry Shamet had his groove going early as well. He knocked down his first three attempts from beyond the arc. His confidence continues to grow as he attempts to find his place and embrace his role with Phoenix.
The Suns lead by 3, 25-22, after one.
I feel like a Backstreet Boys songs when I ask the same question relative to Abdel Nader. “Tell me why?” Nader open…for threeee…not close.
Deandre Ayton continued to shine, making himself available in the paint for Chris Paul to find. Whether it be middy shots with a soft touch or following up a fastbreak with a put back, Ayton was active in the first half. He put up 15 points and added 7 boards.
That was all Paul could do in the first half. While he dropped 5 dimes, he was 0-for-5 from the field including 0-for-4 from deep.
Dallas may have been without Luka Doncic, but they kept themselves in the game by going shot for shot with the Suns. Kristaps Porzingis led the team with 14 points, and the rest of the team pitched in : Jalen Brunson had 9, Tim Hardaway, Jr. had 8, as did Frank Ntilikina off the bench. They took a 46-45 lead into halftime.
2 incredibly “Suns” stats at halftime
The good: Only 2 turnovers!
The bad: Only 1 free-throw attempt
— Sam Cooper (@scooperhoops) November 18, 2021
It was a dangerous combination to start the third quarter: the Suns went cold and the Mavericks began stroking the three-ball. Dallas takes the sixth most three’s in the league and everyone on the team ,even Dwight Powell, started dropping the super shot on Phoenix.
The ball movement that thrived in the first half seemed to fizzle away and all that was left was isolation attempts that led to one-and-done’s.
It felt as if there was plastic wrap on the rim in the third as Phoenix has plenty of good looks and quality shots, yet the ball would spin around the cylinder and pop out. The team shot 7-of-24 (29.2%) from the field in the quarter.
The play of the game, and one of the plays of the year, was an impressive spin-move-up-and-under-Porzingis shots made by Devin Booker. It was Jordan in the 1991 NBA Finals…but with Kristaps in your face.
That’s so nice, you gotta see it twice…
JaVale McGee was relentless on the glass, attacking the rim and putting forth the effort that helped Phoenix stay in the game. He did it only as JaVale can: awkwardly. I’m not talking Dario Saric awkward, but JaVale has his own way of twisting and turning in the paint that is an art all his own.
Phoenix had a late-third quarter lineup of Chris Paul, Cameron Payne, Landry Shamet, Cameron Johnson, and JaVale McGee to end the quarter. Landry has spent plenty of time playing the small-ball three in his career with the Nets and Clippers. Interestingly, it was Shamet who was bringing the ball up to initiate the offense.
The hot shooting from deep put the Mavericks up 5 to end the third. The team went 7-of-11 from downtown in the quarter.
Chris Paul through three? 1 point.
The three’s began to fall for Phoenix in the fourth as Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges both tickled the twine early in the period. The Mavs kept the Suns just outside of a single possession game, however, as they kept hitting their jumpers. If only the Point God…
And with 7:50 left, Chris Paul made a field goal.
Deandre Ayton began to see looks once again as Paul and Johnson did what they could to feed him. He earned an and-1 — although he missed the free throw — and then received a throw-and-go from Cam for an easy dunk.
The interior is where the Suns had the advantage and with 5:30 left, the Suns took the lead back, 87-86, on a Devin Booker drive to the hole. Back to Ayton on the interior the next possession. As I mentioned in the preview, they’ll shoot three’s, we should own the interior. Mid-way through the fourth, the Suns began taking this into account.
Phoenix hit seven consecutive shots, adding three’s from Jae Crowder and Mikal, but Dallas kept in close by responding each time own the floor. But then we entered ‘clutch minutes’ time, a period the Phoenix Suns have owned all season long.
Then the defense tightened. The perimeter rotations were tighter. The swarming at the rim increased. Like a boa constrictor trying to end the life of it’s prey, the Suns put the Mavericks to sleep. They outscored the Mavericks 37-25 in the fourth quarter.
The Suns closed on a 9-2 run to end the game.
Chris Paul might not have had the greatest offensive night, but he led his team with 14 assists and 0 turnovers. Booker dropped 24, Ayton went for 19 and 13, and the Suns extended their winning streak.
It’s a double dose of Dallas!
The Suns play the Mavericks once again on Friday evening, right there at the Footprint Center, at 8:00pm MST.