How the Suns defend Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic is the key to Game 5

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks were left for dead by media and fans after losing the first two games of their Western Conference semifinal series against the Phoenix Suns. Some were talking about a sweep as the series shifted to Texas, but Luka Doncic and company had other ideas.

The Mavs dominated the two games on their home floor, including holding the lead for 86 of the 96 minutes. Their defense and aggressiveness improved as their offense got rolling. Luka had 80 points combined in the two games in Phoenix, but the Mavericks lost because his teammates did not contribute enough. That changed in Dallas as Doncic’s scoring came down a bit, but the role players stepped up to help the Mavs win.

The series shifts back to Phoenix with a best-of-three ahead, and the Mavericks have all the momentum. Expect the defending Western Conference champions to make some adjustments heading into Game 5, and how they defend Luka could decide the series.

How the Suns defend Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic is the key to Game 5

The Mavs defense needs to travel to Phoenix if they are going to win a game in the Valley of the Sun. Chris Paul and Devin Booker exploited Luka’s defense in Game 2, and the Suns averaged 125 points per game in Phoenix before scoring just 97.5 in Dallas. Phoenix is going to put Doncic in the pick and rolls and force him to defend, and the Mavericks must play team defense and recover if they want to top the Suns.

On the other end of the floor, the Suns have to decide how they want to guard Luka Doncic, and the results could determine which team wins the series. Here is a look at Phoenix’s options on number 77, what they should choose, and how Doncic can burn them anyways.