PHOENIX – Just call this the armadillo playoff series, with road kill remaining the dominant theme.

Every home team has been a mack truck. Every visitor has finished the game belly up. The trend continued Tuesday.

The Mavericks couldn’t find a way to slow down the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals. Their defense was a no-show for the last three quarters at Footprint Center as the Suns went up 3-2 in the best-of-seven series with a 110-80 blowout win.

The home-road disparity for the Mavericks’ defense in this series had been more jagged than the stock market.

The Suns got anything they wanted in Games 1 and 2, when they shot a combined 56.9 percent (95-of-167).

In the two games at American Airlines Center, the Suns were 73-of-160 (45.6 percent) and averaged just 97.5 points, or 27.5 fewer than they averaged in Games 1 and 2.

On Tuesday, it was back to being all Phoenix all the time.

“I guess it’s a credit to the fan bases,” said Jalen Brunson, who had 21 points and seven rebounds. “Our fan base is great for us. Their fan base is great for them.

“Home-court advantage is a real thing. Respect to both fan bases for making it difficult for the away team.”

The Mavericks managed to hold the Suns under 50 percent shooting for the game, barely, at 49.4 percent. But not for the second half, and certainly not for the third quarter, when the Suns shot 54 percent and outscored the Mavericks 33-14. The Mavericks had 12 third-quarter turnovers. Their average per game this season was only 12.5.

“That third quarter was no different than Game 1 or 2 here,” coach Jason Kidd said. “When you talk about the playoffs it’s about protecting home court. It’s hard to win on the road. So far, both teams have held serve. Now our goal is to hold serve in Game 6.”

The Mavericks now are faced with the reality that they will have to win Game 7 in Phoenix – something they have not done since Nov. 29, 2019 – if they want to advance to the Western Conference finals.

But they must win Game 6 in Dallas on Thursday first.

NOT MUCH HELP: The Mavericks got 49 points from their backcourt of Brunson and Luka Doncic.

Everybody else had 31 points and shot 8-of-31 from the field.

The Suns were OK with that strategy, obviously, even though going into the game they were a little confounded about how to slow down Brunson, who has averaged over 22 points in the past three games after scoring just 22 in the first two games combined.

“He’s playing the same way,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “But he’s making some shots. Some of his shots have been contested. Some have just been difficult and he’s made them. And he has great footwork. If you stop him, he can change directions (well).”

SENDING CONGRATS TO MONTY: Suns coach Monty Williams was voted the NBA’s coach of the year and it came as no surprise to Kidd.

The Mavericks’ coach, by the way, finished tied for sixth in the voting.

“Monty, well-deserved, did an incredible job this year,” Kidd said. “You talk about having the best team record. You’re supposed to win, but it’s not a given when your team is supposed to be the best. I thought he did an incredible job and it’s well deserved to be coach of the year.”

BRIEFLY: Early in the fourth quarter, Reggie Bullock appeared to come down awkwardly on a play at the offensive end and began clutching his leg. However, after the game, Kidd said that there was no problem with Bullock, other than the fact that the Mavericks didn’t generate enough shots for him. He was 0-for-5 from the field . . . Kidd had nothing more to add to the Mavericks’ statement that the incident involving Chris Paul’s mother at American Airlines Center had been handled and that the offending fan had been dealt with. “We released a statement and it’s been taken care of,” Kidd said. “You never want anything like that to happen to anyone, home or on the road.” . . . The Mavericks will use Wednesday as a travel/film/rest day and reconvene with a shootaround on Thursday to prep for Game 6 at American Airlines Center.

Twitter: @ESefko

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