Gameday Recap Mavs @ Suns 10-19-2022
Suns (1-0) give us the game we deserved last postseason against Mavs (0-1).
Suns trail Mavs by 22 and come roaring back to fantastic finish!
We all expected a nail biter last post season when the Suns were @ home trying to advance in the semi conference finals against the Mavs. We all know how that turned out. The Mavericks sent the Suns home much earlier then expected beating the home team 123-90 going away. Luka magic was on full display and Devin Booker and CP3 were no where to be found. Would history repeat itself ? Let's find out!
It looked as history was due to repeat itself the way the game started Wednesday night @ The footprint center. We even had some of the same themes at play. Luka came out strong in the first half continuing his tremendous summer play with the Slovenia team. Putting up 20pts 5rebs and 3ast in the first half.
He was joined by his running mate Spencer Dinwiddie who came out firing scoring a majority of his 15points in the first half. Unfortunately for the Mavs he couldn't carry the hot hand into the second half. More on that later.
Adding to the case of Groundhog’s Day was the fact that Devin Booker and CP3 looked just as they did that fateful night in May. Paul couldn't get it together the entire game and was benched for backup Cameron Payne for the majority of the second half. Luckily for the Suns Cam Johnson had a strong first half and kept the game from being a sequel to the last time these two teams met. The Mavericks would push the lead up to 22 points at one point in the first half. Behind Luka's play and 17 points from the bench.
Second halfBooker finds his groove
The Suns battle back from 22 down behind Bookers strong second half.
The third quarter pretty much started the same way the first half ended. Luka would continue to control the pace of the game and pick apart the Suns defense. It looked to be the Mavericks night when Luka hit a incredible circus shot over Booker to the crowds dismay. (view here)
Then something changed. After a Monty Williams time out the Suns came out and showed some willingness to compete. Behind Cam Johnsons 13th point of the night the Suns chipped away at the lead cutting it down to a manageable 11 points.
Then with about 4mins to go in the 3rd quarter Devin Booker turned an ankle in transition when he stepped on Dorian Finney-Smith's foot. Luka came over and extended an olive branch in the form of a helping hand up. To which Booker ignored, laced up his Kobe sneakers even tighter and waived off head coach Monty William’s sub. A sign of a true competitor that maybe was missing in last years post season matchup. On the ensuing possession booker came down and hit a perfect midrange jumper to let the Suns fans and maybe even the Mavericks know that this game wasn't over.
Now with momentum fully on the Suns side the gap was closed to a 5 point Dallas lead after a 31-19 quarter in PHX favor.
an unlikely hero emerges
With the Mavs nursing a 5 point lead, limping into the fourth it was clear the offense needed to come from someone other than Doncic. That's where Luka's new big man decided to step up. Christian Wood who came over in a trade from the Houston Rockets is widely considered as an early front runner for 6th man of the year. Early in the 4th he showed everyone why that's the case.
Wood came out aggressive to start the 4th hitting two 3 point shots including one off the glass from straight away and a pair of free throws. Wood's hot hand would continue to the tune of 16 consecutive Maverick points that pushed the lead back up to 15 forcing coach Williams to call a timeout to stop the bleeding. Not only were Suns fans stunned but Woods himself had to hit the MJ shrug not believing how hot his start was. (view here). At this point it looked like the Mavs were ready to go home with a win, but not so fast.
Booker would have his own stretch of hot shooting who scored a lions share of his 28pts in the second half willing his team to within 3 at the 4:50 mark in the 4th.
Then an unlikely Robin to Bookers Batman emerged. Damion Lee formerly of last years NBA champion Golden State Warriors who the Suns signed to replace the 3 and D guy they lost in Jae Crowder had maybe the game of his life.
Lee hit a 3 to give the Suns their first lead since the the game was 13-12 in the 1st quarter. Not only did he sink timely 3s but he forced Luka into some tough shots and even a offensive foul which had the crowd hitting its apex.
Damion would put the suns up 4 forcing the Mavs to call a timeout to muster up one last run. Luka came out of the time out driving with his right hand on Lee finishing at the rim and earning a trip to the line for 1 more.
With the game tied at 105 Booker was in prime position to score a game winning shot but the ball was forced out of his hands twice due to the Mavs double team where the ball ended up in Lee's hands on the right baseline. After a few unsuccessful pump fakes on Mavs defender Spencer Dinwiddie. Damion put on his best Kobe impersonation and faded away impossibly sinking a go ahead jump shot which sent the crowd into a frenzy. ( View here )
The Mavs with no timeouts remaining inbounded the ball to Luka who dribbled his way into his trademarked step back 3 which hit the front of the rim. The suns would go home the victors and gave all NBA fans the game we've been wanting between these two teams. This looks to be like a true rivalry in the league with Booker and Luka being the faces of the new NBA for years to come.
- Luka's amazing play continues. Doncic finished with 35pts 9reb 6ast
- Christian Wood is a great pickup by the Mavs look for him to do big things this year. He finished the game with 25pts and 8rebs.
- The Mavs offense is still very much dependent on Luka setting the table for everyone else. Spencer Dinwiddie needs to continue to be aggressive all game.
- Devin Booker didn't back down this time. With CP3 starting to look his age it felt like tonight was the night Booker realized the team is his. He finished the game with 28pts 9ast and 4rebs
- Deandre Ayton looked uninterested early but came on late. Ayton finished the game with 18pts and 10rebs. He honestly looked better with Paul off the floor. (something to look out for)
- The team has some red flags including CP3's steadily decline. Cam Johnson sat out the fourth with some sort of injury and earlier mentioned Aytons aloofness might come back to haunt them later in the season.