“It’s win or go home now,” guard Jalen Brunson said. “I think that’s just known. It doesn’t really need to be said.”
Game 6 is Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in Dallas in what is an elimination game for the Mavs. A decisive Game 7, if needed, will be back here on Sunday.
The Suns lead this best-of-seven series, 3-2, after they started taking control of this game late in the second quarter and continued the dominance in the third quarter.
“They’re an amazing team,” said point guard Luka Doncic, who collected 28 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and three steals. “They held us to 80, so that’s pretty impressive.”
It was the third-lowest scoring output of the season for the Mavs, who lost at Denver (106-75) on Oct. 29 and lost at home against the New York Knicks (107-77) on March 9.
THIRD-QUARTER COLLAPSE: The third quarter had to be one of the worst in Mavs’ playoff history. The Mavs were just 6-of-15 from the field in the third quarter and almost had as many turnovers (12) as points (14) in that fatal quarter, which turned out to be all the difference in this game. Phoenix turned those 12 turnovers into 18 points and wound up outscoring Dallas in the third quarter, 33-14. The Suns were 13-of-24 from the floor in the third quarter when they also outscored the Mavs, 16-4, in the paint. The last team to have 12 turnovers in one quarter in a playoff game were the New York Knicks during the second quarter of a 100-67 loss to the Miami Heat on April 28, 2012.
BOOKER TOOK OVER: As he often does, Suns guard Devin Booker took over in the third quarter when he scored 12 of his team-high 28 points. In that quarter, Booker was the driver of the truck that just kept rolling and rolling until the Suns turned a 49-46 halftime lead into an 82-60 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Booker was 4-of-8 from the field – including 3-of-5 from three-point land – in the third quarter. He also had two steals in the third quarter. In addition, Booker tallied 12 points in the first quarter on 5-of-8 shots. Overall, Booker was 11-of-20 from the floor, 3-of-7 from downtown and also picked up two steals.
AYTON WAS A FACTOR: Suns center Deandre Ayton made his presence known in Game 5 as he finished with 20 points on 9-of-13 shots, and also added nine rebounds in just 22 minutes. It was a highly effective game for Ayton, who scored just 14 points in Game 4. The No. 1 overall pick in the same 2018 NBA Draft that involved Mavs point guard Luka Doncic – he was the third overall pick – Ayton scored six points in the second quarter and added eight more in the third quarter when the Suns started getting some separation between themselves and the Mavs.
MAVS GOT OFF TO A GREAT START: There can be no complaints about the start the Mavs pieced together. Dallas led 10-3 and 24-16 before ending the first quarter with a 26-23 lead. That was way better than what transpired here during Games 1 and 2 of this series when the Mavs fell behind, 9-0, at the start of each of those games. Tuesday, the Mavs came out with a business-like approach and gave the Suns something to think about with how efficient they were from the get-go. In the first quarter the Mavs were 9-of-17 from the field, including 4-of-8 from beyond the three-point arc. Luka Doncic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the first quarter.
BENCH SCORING: When it came to bench scoring, the Suns got the best of the Mavs in Game 5 as they won that battle, 38-23. Cameron Johnson paved the way off the bench for the Suns with 14 points on 5-of-8 shots. There also was a Landry Shamet sighting. After scoring just nine points in the first four games of this series, Shamet surprisingly tallied eight points Tuesday. He also was second on the team with four assists after having just two in this series entering Game 5. In addition, Bismack Biyombo was a major contributor off the bench for Phoenix with seven points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes.