After not looking like themselves and losing the previous two games in Dallas, the Phoenix Suns answered with a 110-80 triumph on their home floor against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 on Tuesday night.
The Suns now have a 3-2 series lead against the Mavericks and are one win away from going to the Western Conference Finals for the second consecutive season.
Phoenix struggled to get things going from three-point range at times, but their defense stepped up, and they played to their strengths in this game.
Exposing the Mavericks’ offense and attacking their secondary talents alongside Luka Doncic worked well in Games 1 and 2. Hence, head coach Monty Williams and his staff resorted to a similar strategy in Game 5.
On Tuesday, Dallas was limited to 80 points on 38 percent shooting from the field. In this series, the Mavericks’ two home triumphs against the Suns were fueled by three-point shooting, but they hit only 8-32 (25 percent) from deep in this one.
On Thursday night, Game 6 of this series will be played in Dallas, and it will undoubtedly be a violent game.
Here are three significant takeaways from the Suns’ strong performance in Game 5.
“Hero-Ball” Triumphed Again For Dallas
Aside from their strong defensive effort, the Dallas Mavericks won Games 3 and 4 at home because of how well they “spread the wealth” on offense.
Dorian Finney-Smith, Reggie Bullock, Jalen Brunson, and others contributed offensively in addition to Luka Doncic. Doncic got the ball much too often early in this series, and the Mavericks were satisfied to let him play one-on-one, resulting in Dallas losing the first two games in Phoenix.
Dallas leaned too much on Doncic’s “hero-ball” in Game 5, and as a result, they were blown out by the Suns on Tuesday night.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of this game is that the Mavericks had nine assists throughout the game, with one coming in garbage time at the conclusion for a total of eight legitimate assists.
Dallas’ ball movement was non-existent in this game. With them always playing one-on-one with Doncic at the top of the arc, Phoenix gradually collapsed their defense and zeroed in on the Mavericks All-Star because they knew he would not give up the ball.
This is the major issue the Mavericks have with their offense right now, and as we’ve seen in this series, wonderful things happen when they move the ball.
This must be a topic of emphasis for head coach Jason Kidd heading into Game 6, especially if they want to force a Game 7 in the desert.
Deandre Ayton’s Size Is Too Much For The Mavs To Handle
While he frequently goes overlooked, Deandre Ayton swiftly emerges as one of the NBA’s elite big men. The former No. 1 overall choice has the height and stature of a monster in the paint against lesser teams in this league, as he demonstrated against the Mavericks.
Ayton was misused at times against Dallas, but they returned to him in Game 5, and he delivered, scoring 20 points on 9-13 shooting and grabbing nine rebounds.
Dallas does not use center Dwight Powell much, so they go small with Maxi Kleber at the position. Kleber is not a horrible big man, and he is an above-average defender, but he lacks the height to compete with Ayton, which is why the Suns’ young center is so important to them.
The Suns should prioritize feeding Ayton and playing through the post because his presence offensively opens up the floor for others to participate.
With Dallas focused on Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Mikal Bridges can roam freely on the perimeter, creating several scoring opportunities by cutting to the basket.
Ayton’s ability to attack the paint on offense has made a major difference for Phoenix in this series, and they will likely attempt to capitalize on his success in Game 5.
17-0 Runs Tend To Result In A Win
Thanks to what they did in the third quarter, the Phoenix Suns won Game 5 on Tuesday night.
They not only beat the Mavericks 33-14 in the third quarter, but the Suns went on a 17-0 scoring spree that Dallas couldn’t stop. With role guys making shots, the Suns’ defense earning stops, and the crowd being thunderous, this is the time in the series that Phoenix regained control.
Because Luka Doncic was unable to score utilizing his “hero-ball” mindset, and the Mavericks were unable to get others involved, the Suns grabbed control of the game and easily won.
No matter what the score is in a game, the team that goes on a 17-0 run usually wins, and Phoenix showed that in this one.
The Suns were one of the league’s greatest offensive and defensive teams this season, so a run like this comes as no surprise, especially against a subpar offensive club like the Mavericks.
Devin Booker is one of the league’s top all-around scoring weapons right now, and with others getting involved and banging down jumpers, Phoenix took all the energy and momentum out of the Dallas Mavericks organisation in Game 5.