MAVERICKS (2-2) AT PHOENIX SUNS (2-2)
Time: 9 p.m., Tuesday.
Place: Footprint Center, Phoenix
Radio: The Eagle, 97.1 FM; Univision, 99.1 FM (Spanish)
About the Mavericks: After nearly everyone wrote them off when they opened this best-of-seven series with two losses in Phoenix, the Mavs came home and totally handled their business and tied this series, 2-2. The Mavs followed up Friday’s hard-fought 103-94 victory in Game 3 with Sunday’s solid 111-101 victory in Game 4. . .After tonight’s game, Game 6 will be played Thursday in Dallas at 8:30 p.m. A Game 7, if necessary, will be Sunday in Phoenix. . .After scoring 80 points in the two games in Phoenix to open this series, Luka Doncic averaged 26 ppg, 10 rpg and 10 apg, and was 20-of-50 from the field in the two games in Dallas. Doncic has now played 20 playoff games and has scored 655 points in those games. That’s the third-most by any player in their first 20 playoff games behind only Michael Jordan (718) and Wilt Chamberlain (705). Game 4 also was Doncic’s sixth postseason game with at least 25 points and 10 assists. That’s the most by any player 23 years old or younger. . .A bonafide 3-and-D player, Dorian Finney-Smith was 12-of-23 from beyond the three-point arc in Games 3 and 4. That includes firing in career playoff-high eight triples in 12 attempts in Game 4. That’s one three-pointer shy of the Mavs’ team postseason record set on May 8, 2011 by Jason Terry when he was 9-of-10 from downtown during Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against the then two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. . .The Mavs’ bench outscored the Suns’ bench, 36-26, in Game 4 and that 10-point difference wound up essentially being the difference in the game. Davis Bertans hopped off the bench and fired in 12 points on 4-of-6 threes in just 13 minutes in Game 4. Also off the bench in Game 4, Maxi Kleber scored 11 points and Spencer Dinwiddie tossed in 10 points and was 2-of-4 from downtown. . .It’s almost as if the Suns have to decide whether they’re going to pay more attention to trying to limit the scoring by Doncic or try and limit the scoring by the Mavs’ role players. . .The Mavs made eight three-pointers in the first quarter of Game 4. The Suns made nine three-pointers in Game 4 – in the entire game.
About the Suns: Chris Paul probably had the worst two-game playoff stretch in his 17-year career. On his 37th birthday Friday, Paul turned the ball over a whopping seven times. And on Sunday, the so-called Point God had more fouls (six) than points (five) for the first time in his postseason career as he fouled out after playing just 23 minutes. . .Devin Booker has been carrying the Suns on the offensive end of the court. In the two games in Dallas, Booker averaged 26.5 ppg and 6.5 apg and shot 16-of-35 from the field 7-of-12 from beyond the three-point arc. That includes a 35-point, seven-assist explosion in Game 4 when he was 10-of-22 from the field, 3-of-6 from three-point territory and 12-of-13 from the free throw line. . .Deandre Ayton scored 30 points and grabbed 22 rebounds in Games 3 and 4 after getting 34 points and 11 rebounds in Games 1 and 2. . .The Suns shot at least 50 percent from the floor in their first eight playoffs this postseason, including the first two games in Phoenix when they made 50.5 percent of their shots in Game 1 and an incredible 64.5 percent of their shots in Game 2. But in Game 3 the Mavs held the Suns to 44.7 percent shooting, and in Game 4 Phoenix shot just 46.4 percent from the floor. . .Jae Crowder has been very effective in this series. In the two games in Dallas, Crowder scored 34 points, snatched 13 rebounds and handed out six assists, and converted 13-of-25 shots, including 7-of-15 baskets from three-point land. In the two games in Phoenix, Crowder was 8-of-13 from the field — 6-of-10 from behind the three-point stripe – and scored 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. . .The Suns led by as many as 21 points in Game 1 and 27 points in Game 2, and trailed by as much as 18 points in Game 3 and 17 points in Game 4. . .After scoring at least 31 points in five of the eight quarters during the two games in Phoenix – including a 40-point fourth quarter in Game 2 — the Suns scored 31 points in only one of the eight quarters in the two games in Dallas. . .If the Suns lose tonight it’ll be the first time they’ve lost three straight games since they dropped four in a row in last year’s NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks.
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