That happened. The Dallas Mavericks went into the desert and defeated the Phoenix Suns in Game 7 of their Western Conference Semifinals series by the score of 123-90.
No, we’re not close to joking. Luka Doncic had his Mavericks playing absolutely tremendous basketball. Meanwhile, Suns fans inside Footprint Center in Phoenix actually booed the team off the court as they were heading to halftime down by 30 points.
Riding the hot hand of Mr. Doncic and a stellar performance from Spencer Dinwiddie, the Mavericks controlled this game from the get en route to setting up a Western Conference Finals matchup against the Golden State Warriors.
As for the Suns, it was just humiliating. The star backcourt duo of Devin Booker and Chris Paul combined for three points on 0-of-11 shooting in the first half. Below, we look at the biggest winners and losers of the Dallas Mavericks blowout 33-point victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 7 Sunday evening.
Winner: Jason Kidd had his Dallas Mavericks ready to play
We have to give Kidd credit for having his team ready to go in Game 7. Phoenix finished 42-9 at home during the regular season. It won the first three home games in this series by a combined 57 points, including a 30-point win back in Game 5.
The Mavericks knew that they were heading into a hostile environment. They were taking on a heavily-favored Suns team who boasted the best record in the NBA in the regular season and was looking for a second consecutive NBA Finals appearance.
“For the most part I don’t try to change anything for just one game. You’ve got to stay in character. The coach stays in character, the players stay in character. Everyone stays in character, and then you execute.”Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd ahead of Game 7, via team’s official website
Dallas did indeed stay in character throughout Game 7. It turned the ball over a total of 11 times. The team connected on 19-of-39 from distance. It ran the offense through Luka Doncic. Kidd had a game plan. The Mavs executed it. And the end result was a huge Game 7 win.
Loser: What in the world, Chris Paul?
Still looking for his first NBA title, most figured Paul would come to play in Game 7. While that has been an exception to the rule in the past, the future Hall of Famer has changed the narrative to an extent since joining Phoenix ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Unfortunately for CP3, this was not the case throughout the Western Conference Semifinals series. Paul, 37, entered Game 7 averaging 14.0 points and 6.0 assists in the series. Both numbers were down from the regular season.
How did he respond? By scoring all of one point in the first half. It was a direct result of stingy defense from the Mavericks and the guard’s own struggles. One point in a game that that Phoenix Suns were down by 30 at the half. One now has to wonder where Paul goes from here after his team blew a 2-0 series lead for a fifth time in his career.
Winner: Luka Doncic, Spencer Dindwiddie form big two for the Dallas Mavericks
Doncic was absolutely brilliant in the first quarter, scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks took a 10-point lead. He was, by far, the best player on the court. It wasn’t close.
- Luka Doncic stats (Game 7): 35 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 12-of-19 shooting, 6-of-11 3-point
Dallas was plus-37 in Doncic’s 30 minutes of action. He didn’t have to do any heavy lifting after matching the Suns’ entire scoring output (27 points) in the first half. We now might be witnessing a new era of NBA basketbal with Doncic as the face of the Association.
Loser: Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker comes up small
The Suns’ playoff hero from last season, Booker had played well thus far leading up to Game 7. Despite some injuries, he was averaging 24.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists on 46% shooting from distance.
Booker failed to live up to his end of the bargain. With Phoenix trailing by 40 points after three quarters, Booker found himself minus-40. He had scored all of 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting with four turnovers.
A game that saw Doncic up his performance in a big way also saw Booker choke in one of the biggest games of his career. That’s not hyperbole. And in reality, it has the Suns preparing for an offseason of change behind the star guard.