The Suns imitated the Heat last night by winning a third straight time in their room, in a very authoritative way. Monty Williams’ players made the difference after the break, before continuing until the end of the game. To survive, Dallas will have no choice but to win Game 6 in Texas on Thursday night.
Since the start of this series, the home team have consistently had the best start, before eventually winning. This Game 5 was the exception to this rule as Dallas made a solid start thanks to the 3-point skill of Dorian Finney-Smith and the duo Luka Doncic – Jalen Brunson, both determined to target Chris in defense Paul, pushing him to the post several times. A distance duel between the Slovenian and Devin Booker, hyper skilful at mid-distance, settled but it was Maxi Kleber at 3-points who offered the first gap of the match in favor of the Texans (16-24).
Opposite, the Suns were in more trouble behind the arc, like a streak ended by three misses on the same possession, but still clung to the score. Including when Davis Bertans made a new striking entry into play, notably with a 3+1 action after a “catch-and-shoot” (30-37). Under the impetus of Devin Booker (16 points at the break), the Suns managed to regain a narrow lead at the end of a first period (49-46) where Luka Doncic’s Mavs (18 points and 7 rebounds) only shot at 40% success, against 48% for their opponents.
This data could have “excited” Jason Kidd if his team had not exploded after the break. Overwhelmed by the defensive intensity deployed by the locals, and by the size of a much too beefy Deandre Ayton below, the Texans conceded a terrible 17-0 in five minutes (68-50). Everything suddenly became difficult in attack for the visitors who, after a new award-winning basket from Devin Booker, found themselves trailing… by 24 points (78-54).
It took several exploits for the circle of Jalen Brunson to maintain a semblance of Texan hope. Insufficient, however, because Chris Paul finally caused a sought-after offensive fault in front of Luka Doncic then “CP3” imitated Landry Shamet by penalizing at 3-points (95-73).
Four minutes from the end, Jason Kidd decided to empty his bench paving the way for a “garbage time” which the Suns of the ghost Torrey Craig took advantage of to worsen the gap. An end to the match marked by a few scuffles, especially between Marquese Chriss and Bismack Biyombo.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– The Suns’ huge streak after the break. Monty Williams said it during a time-out during this “run”: the Suns probably posted their most intense defense since the start of this series. The 14 points conceded in the third quarter, and the 80 points in the end, will not demonstrate the contrary. Phoenix relied on that intensity to go 17-0 in five minutes and turn the game around. After an interception from Mikal Bridges, Devin Booker, for example, sanctioned 3-pointers in transition. At the same time, Deandre Ayton grabbed several offensive rebounds before putting it back in. The Mavs did not know how to contain them or react because of the opposing pressure.
– Monty Williams reviews his rotations. In addition to sending Bismack Biyombo (very active below) in front of JaVale McGee, the Suns coach decided to do without Cameron Payne to blow Chris Paul. The latter had no foul problems, and he was replaced in the lead by Devin Booker and Landry Shamet, brilliantly at the end of the third quarter. Cameron Payne, finally sent for “garbage time”, thus pays for his very average performances in this series: barely 4 points on average with only 33% success.
– “Record” in passing for the Mavs. The Texans had never generated less than ten assists this season, until tonight’s game with just nine assists. It was even a first since… November 2016. With only two balls distributed, Luka Doncic also signed his lowest total of the year. At the break, the Mavs had just six assists but posted good circulation streaks. This observation was much less true after the passage to the locker room where Dallas fell back into a stereotypical game. Their tally contrasts with the Suns’ 28 assists, including 10 for Chris Paul alone.
✅ Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. While Chris Paul signed a manager’s game without shining in “scoring”, the other two offensive leaders ensured. True to his reputation, the first started his match very strongly and then continued to score with regularity in the following two quarters. The pivot rather made the difference in the third quarter, at the heart of the Suns’ big “run”.
✅ Mikal Bridges. His ability to cut pass lines, especially from Luka Doncic, still hurt the Mavs a lot. For example, he stole a ball before going on the counterattack to serve the Suns bench joker, Cam Johnson, at the “alley-oop” at the very end of the third quarter. With this release, Mikal Bridges is moving forward after his failed Game 4.
⛔ Mavs shooters. After starting strong in the momentum of his fiery Game 4, Dorian Finney-Smith has returned to the ranks. Reggie Bullock or Maxi Kleber hardly found the target from afar. As for the very productive Spencer Dinwiddie at the start of the playoffs against the Jazz, he is absent. Tonight, he squarely signed his worst game since arriving in Dallas. Only Davis Bertans posted the address.
Game 6: in Dallas, on the night of Thursday May 12 to Friday May 13.