Dallas Mavericks get win over Suns at halfway point of season
By Kohl Rast
The Dallas Mavericks snagged a win against their own kryptonite last night, beating the Phoenix Suns for the first time since January 12, 2017. Luka Doncic led the Mavs to a 104-94 win with 30 points on 57% field goal shooting.
The Dallas Mavericks really know how to lose to the Phoenix Suns. Over the last two and a half seasons, the Mavs have lost 8 of the last 9 games against the Suns before last night’s contest. Making it 8 out of the last 10 was an important step for Dallas in starting to find a way to beat the teams they should be beating.
The win for Dallas should be attributed in full to the play of Luka Doncic. Luka was not only the best player on the court for the Mavs last night, he was clearly one of the better players in the NBA. His ability to get to the rim, get to the free throw line and create space at the three-point line without elite athleticism is something that very few players in the league can say.
Anyways, back to the game.
The Mavs and Suns had a good battle going through the first three quarters, with a 26-26 tie at the end of the first, a four-point lead for the Suns at the half and a nine-point lead for the Mavs at the end of the third. The Suns looked like they were ready to pounce on the Mavs once again early in the third, but Luka wasn’t going to have that.
The Mavs were in a pretty bad dry spell through most of the 2nd quarter, which saw the Suns leading by 8 points for a large part of the quarter. Their lead fluctuated but stayed intact through the quarter and into the third.
With 10 minutes left in the third, T.J. Warren hit a three that put the Suns up by seven. The Mavs went down to the other end where Josh Jackson got a well-timed block on DeAndre Jordan, but DJ stuck with it and finished at the rim to cut the lead to 5. That is when Luka got into attack mode and hit back-to-back threes to put the Mavs ahead by one.
Dallas outscored Phoenix 20-14 the rest of the third quarter and never looked back, leading the entire 4th quarter. Luka ended the night with a solid line of 30 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. We won’t get into the conversation of how good the night could have been if any of his teammates could’ve hit a shot when he passed it to them.
Luka’s blemishes were definitely from the free throw line (10-16) and he also had 4 turnovers. Other players that joined Luka in double-digit scoring are: Harrison Barnes (17 points on 3-11 shooting and 10-10 from free throw), Maxi Kleber (13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks), Wesley Matthews (14 points, 5 assists) and DeAndre Jordan (11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks).
For the Suns, Warren led all scorers with 20 points, Josh Jackson had 17, Richaun Holmes with 16, Kelly Oubre Jr. with 14 and Elie Okobo with 10. Fellow rookie and top pick in the 2018 draft, Deandre Ayton, struggled in the game with only 6 points and 5 rebounds to go with 3 turnovers and 5 fouls.
One weird discrepancy in the game was the amount of fouls called and free throws taken between the two teams. Phoenix was called for 34 fouls leading to 45 free throw attempts for Dallas, while the Mavs were called for 17 fouls leading to 21 free throw attempts. The Suns are a very physical team which resulted in 5 different players getting at least 5 fouls called on them.
The Suns commit the most fouls league-wide and Dallas shoots the third most free throws by any NBA team which shows that, although the numbers were high, it is not necessarily outside of the realm of possibility.
Dallas will look to continue their winning ways in the second half of the season as they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves tomorrow in Minnesota. The game will tip-off at 7:00 central time when the Mavs will look to take down Karl-Anthony Towns and company.