Booker scores 28, Suns rout Mavericks 110-80 for 3-2 lead

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

PHOENIX (AP) — The top-seeded Phoenix Suns looked much more like their old selves on Tuesday night.

All-Star guard Devin Booker said a little time in front of the TV with NBA Coach of the Year Monty Williams did wonders.

“We study film,” Booker said. “Coach is coming in with adjustments, we make them and we follow them.”

Booker scored 28 points, Deandre Ayton added 20 and the Suns pulled away for a lopsided 110-80 win over the Dallas Mavericks to earn a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

The Suns bounced back after dropping the previous two games and can win the series in Game 6 on Thursday in Dallas. It won’t be easy: The home team has won the first five games.

The Suns used a huge third quarter to turn a tight game into a comfortable win. Phoenix opened up the second half on an 11-4 run, highlighted by Booker’s two 3-pointers, for a 61-50 lead.

Mavs coach Jason Kidd called for a timeout, but it did little to stop the onslaught. The Suns led 82-60 going into the fourth with Booker pouring in 12 points during the third.

While the Suns were finally finding some offensive continuity, the Mavs completely lost theirs, scoring just four points in the first six minutes of the third. At times, the Dallas offense regressed to mostly watching Luka Doncic try and work magic, but he couldn’t do it all by himself.

The Mavs had 12 turnovers during the third quarter.

“The defense tonight — that’s the backbone of our program,” said Williams, who was announced as the Coach of the Year on Monday.

Doncic finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds, but acknowledged that the offense bogged down at times. Jalen Brunson added 21 points. The Mavs shot just 38% from the field.

“The one thing we didn’t do great today was our pace,” Doncic said. “In the last two games, our pace was very good. I think they are one of the best defensive teams, if not the best, in the NBA. They held us to 80. That’s pretty impressive. We’ve got to move the ball and have better pace — faster.”

The Suns took a hardfought 49-46 lead into halftime. Booker scored 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Doncic countered with 18 points, though it was a little less efficient after making 7 of 16 shots.

The Mavericks led for a majority of the first half before Booker’s baseline jam tied it at 40-all with 3:47 before halftime. Mikal Bridges had a nifty steal and then scored on a fastbreak layup for a 44-42 lead.

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