Suns exploit defense of Luka Doncic in Game 2: How can Mavericks avoid a repeat?

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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The Dallas Mavericks were blown out by the Phoenix Suns in Game 1, and they knew the intensity needed to pick up in Game 2. Dallas was up two points at halftime as superstar Luka Doncic had 24 points. They survived Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith being forced to sit with foul trouble and had a lead over the team with the best record in the league before it all unraveled.

The Suns scored 71 points in the second half, including holding a 14-point edge in the fourth quarter, to grab the 129-109 victory in Game 2. It was a masterclass by Chris Paul and Devin Booker that resulted in the two combining for 58 points on 22 of 35 shooting from the field over the final 24 minutes. Phoenix shredded the Mavericks' defense as they shot 64.5 percent from the field in Game 2.

The Suns shot 70.7 percent in the second half because they targeted Luka’s defense. Dallas was playing small and willing to switch, so Phoenix got Doncic involved in the pick and roll and blew past him for easy scores. Here is a closer look at what happened.

Phoenix Suns exploited the defense of Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic in Game 2

Chris Paul earned the nickname “The Point God”, and he knew attacking Luka was advantageous for the Suns. Doncic struggles defending on the ball, and he was carrying the Mavericks' offense. Any energy he spent on the defensive end took away from his ability to lead the Mavs offense down the stretch.

Here is a look at how they took advantage of Luka’s defense, and how the Dallas Mavericks can avoid a repeat moving forward in this Western Conference semifinal series.