Many of the co-called experts completely wrote off the Dallas Mavericks after they dropped the first two games of thisKidd best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series to the Phoenix Suns.

The word “sweep” was prevalent no matter if the noise was coming from a TV, a radio, a computer, a cell phone, an Ipad, or any other electronic device. But that noise has totally died down now that the Mavs have battled back to knot this series at 2-2 following wins at home in Games 3 and 4 over the weekend.

Coach Jason Kidd said his team was oblivious to whatever the naysayers were saying about them, and that — after dropping the first two games of this series — the Mavs were strictly focused on just getting their house in order.

“I don’t think we’re taking it as trying to prove anybody wrong,” Kidd said after Monday’s practice in Dallas. “We’re just taking one game at a time.

“Those first two games in Phoenix we didn’t play up to our level and we lost. We came back home and took one game at a time (and) we played a little bit better. Now we got to figure out how to win on the road.”

Game 5 will be played Tuesday at 9 p.m. in Phoenix and Game 6 is Thursday in Dallas. If a seventh game is necessary, it’ll be Sunday in Phoenix.

Center Maxi Kleber said the Mavs weren’t concerned about what the masses thought after they fell into an 0-2 hole in this series.

“We’re not really worried about that,” Kleber said. “We just try to focus on the next game, prepare and make adjustments.

“We watched the videos, we saw all the mistakes that we did. So a lot of the stuff was just on us, and we know that we can control that and do a better job and that’s what we did.”

LukaKidd obviously wasn’t about to reveal any secrets on how the Mavs stalled the Suns’ high-powered offense to a virtual crawl after the series shifted to American Airlines Center. In the two games in Phoenix, the Suns averaged 125 points per game, but in the two games in Dallas they only averaged 97.5 points per game.

“I would never give up any secrets,” Kidd said. “We played hard, we executed the game plan and we made some shots and we’re going to have to do that on the road.”

The Mavs had a nasty defensive edge about themselves in Games 1 and 2 that wasn’t present during the two games in Phoenix. They know they’ll need that again in Game 5.

“We tried to make it tough,” Kidd said. “They’re going to get shots, they’re going to get to their spots. We just tried to contest and limit them to just one shot.

“In Game 3 we did a good job of that, but in Game 4 they got too many offensive rebounds which kept them in the game.”

The Mavs just want to keep the momentum going that propelled them to a 103-94 win in Game 3 and a 111-101 victory in Game 4.

“Obviously we’re confident,” Kleber said. “The way we played, we did a lot of good adjustments in the two home games that we had, and we have to play the same way (in Game 5).

“Obviously they’re going to come out stronger at home. The fans are going to be loud in there. We have to do a better job of talking on defense just because of that. But I think if we do the same things that we did here at home we have a good chance.”

Kidd knows as this series draws closer and closer to a close, the physicality gets amped up a notch or two and nerves get frazzled.

“The playoffs are about physicality, it’s about making the right play and then timely shots,’ Kidd said. “You’ve got to make timely shots against the Suns and you can’t turn the ball over.

“That still doesn’t mean you can win the game. But I thought the last two games our level of details was high and we’re going to need that inLuka Game 5.”

Kidd also would like for the Mavs to live in the moment. That served the Mavs well when they entered Game 3 with 11 straight losses to the Suns, and now they own a two-game winning streak over Phoenix.

“We talk about the present,” Kidd said. “We’re not looking ahead and we’re not looking behind us.

“We review and we talk about the things we need to clean up and then we push forward. This group has done a great job of that this year.”

Kleber acknowledged that the Mavs learned a lot about themselves during their two hard-fought wins over the Suns.

“It’s a 48-minute game,” he said. “They made a big run against us, but we stayed on our course, we played our game, we kept continue playing and that’s what we have to do.

“There are runs in basketball. You can’t completely stop them because they’re so good. But we just got to stay focused on what we have to do, clean up our mistakes when they have their run and just continue playing.”

More importantly, if the Mavs bring that same defensive disposition to Game 5 that they had in Games 3 and 4, their chances of winning improves exponentially.

“Especially the first game we didn’t come out with the right edge, and we did a better job in the next (three) games,” Kleber said. “Even in the second game I would say, but we didn’t do it for 48 minutes.

Dorian“In the last two games we did a really good job of that and we just got to continue it.”

FINNEY-SMITH THE DEFENSIVE GURU: From center Maxi Kleber’s perspective, forward Dorian Finney-Smith is the glue that holds the Mavs’ defense together.

“He’s the defensive anchor,” Kleber said. “He talks a lot on defense.

“He’s one of the reasons why we’re so good on defense.”

Finney-Smith’s offensive game isn’t too shabby, either. He proved that when he scored 14 points and made 4-of-11 three-pointers in Game 3, and came back with a career playoff-high 24 points while converting 8-of-12 three-pointers I Game 4.

“His offensive packages keeps getting better and better,” Kleber said. “So if he has that on top (of his stout defense), he’s a key player for us to keep the team together.

“Besides all of that, he’s a really great person, too. He’s just a nice chemistry guy to have on the team. But overall, I would say his defense, the impact, the way he talks on defense, how he sees situations helps us a lot. And obviously he has a very high basketball IQ, too.”

BRIEFLY: Point guard Luka Doncic was in constant foul trouble in Game 3, but the Mavs still won. And he shot only 1-of-10 from three-point range in Game 4, and the Mavs still won. So what does that say about the Mavs? “Luka can’t have a perfect night every night, butJalen he’s doing so much,” center Maxi Kleber said. “I think when he’s not shooting well, he still does so much for us. He draws the attention (and) it gives other people good shots. I’m not really worried about his shooting numbers. But overall, it just says we stay connected. We just try to make the right decisions.”. .Normally, Doncic plays the entire third quarter. But coach Jason Kidd took him out late in the third quarter of Game 3 to preserve his energy so he could have some gas in the tank when the fourth quarter rolled around. “Looking at just how much he’s involved offensively and defensively, and then I thought there late in the third to be able to get him a break, I thought the guys did a really good job of keeping the lead and playing the right way on both ends,” Kidd said. “That was more feel. A lot of times you plan things, they don’t go the way they’re planned. The feel was to get him some rest and then hopefully eat some time in the fourth before we have to bring him back.”

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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