(AP) PHOENIX — The Dallas Mavericks stunned the top-seeded Phoenix Suns with a 123-90 Game 7 blowout Sunday night, advancing to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2011. Luka Doncic scored 35 points, Spencer Dinwiddie added 30, and the Mavericks advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2011.
Dallas broke through on the road after the home team won the first six games of the series, dominating from tip to finish in a hostile environment. It was a humiliating no-show for the playoff-tested Suns, who got to the NBA Finals with nearly the same group last season.
The fourth-seeded Mavericks meet the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 on Wednesday.
Doncic gave the Mavericks an early lead by hitting his first three shots, including two three-pointers. This helped Dallas build a 27-17 lead in the first quarter and a 57-27 lead at halftime.
Doncic and Dinwiddie combined for 48 of the Mavericks’ 57 points off the bench.
The Suns appeared to be crushed by the pressure of a Game 7 victory. They missed shots they should have made, made terrible passes they shouldn’t have made, and looked nothing like the club that won an NBA-best 64 games during the regular season.
Many Suns supporters were booing at the unsightly display by halftime.
The series may have been tight, but individual games were not. Three of the first six games were decided by at least 20 points, and none were agreed on the last possession.
Game 7 followed a similar trend, with the road team doing all the damage. Doncic was outstanding, hitting shots from all over the court and finished 12 of 19 from the field, including 6 of 11 on three-pointers. Dinwiddie was terrific in the first half, scoring 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range.
On the other hand, Phoenix’s All-Star backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker was never a factor. Paul, 37, is a 12-time All-Star who has accomplished about everything in the game but won a title.
After this failure, it’s reasonable to question if there will be many more opportunities. Booker ended with 11 points on 3 of 14 shooting. Paul finished with 10 points and four assists. The Suns only shot 37.9% from the field.
Dallas defied the odds with the triumph: after the Celtics upset the Bucks earlier in the day, the home team was 110-33 (77 percent) in NBA Game 7s.
The Suns have now lost a playoff series after leading 2-0 for the second year in a row. They won the first two games of last season’s NBA Finals against the Bucks before dropping four consecutive.