The Phoenix Suns enjoyed an edge in points in the paint over the Dallas Mavericks despite losing 113-86 in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals on Thursday.
Deandre Ayton and Co. finished with 44 paint points compared to the Mavs’ 34.
The Suns center scored the first basket of the game, had 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half and ended the night with a team-high 21 points on 62.5% shooting.
Ayton also added 11 rebounds and one assist in 30 minutes on the court.
“I think he’s doing a really good job,” head coach Monty Williams told ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth at the end of the first quarter. “I don’t want him to overrun his body in the pick-and-roll and then when he has a smaller guy on him down there he has to dominate.”
Dallas shot 10-for-24 (41.7 percent) from three in the first half while Phoenix took only seven attempts, knocking down three of them (42.9 percent).
The Mavericks finished the night 16-for-39 (41%), while the Suns went 6-of-18 from beyond the arc for a 33% clip.
“I don’t think we played well on offense,” Williams said. “We’re going after matchups right now instead of running our offense. I think we can get the matchups that we want when we run our stuff.”
The Mavericks shot 39% from 3 in their first two home games of the series, including 20 3-pointers in Game 4.
With a 15-point lead at the half, the Mavericks were able to build a bigger lead than they did in their previous wins as they enjoyed leads of seven points and 12 points at halftime in Games 3 and 4, respectively.
The 27-point margin of victory for Dallas is also its largest of the series, which comes one game after the Suns’ 30-point win in Game 5.
Game 7 will be back in Phoenix at the Footprint Center on Sunday, with the tip-off time to be determined.
You can catch the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.