PHOENIX — The top-seeded Phoenix Suns had been braced for one more fourth-quarter playoff struggle on Wednesday night time.
Chris Paul turned it into an early knockout.
The 12-time All-Star scored 28 factors, together with 14 in one other spectacular remaining quarter, to steer the Suns over the Dallas Mavericks 129-109 for a 2-0 lead within the Western Conference semifinals.
Paul, a 12-time All-Star who turns 37 years previous on Friday, virtually single-handedly turned a good sport into a snug victory — the Suns’ eleventh win in a row in opposition to the Mavericks counting regular-season video games.
“You’ve just got to lean on the work,” Paul mentioned. “It all goes again to the work. You can’t cheat the sport. You’ve received to do the energy and conditioning, you’ve received to raise, you’ve received to get your relaxation, you bought to get your pictures up.
“When you do that, you live with the results.”
Suns guard Devin Booker mentioned he’s run out of the way to explain Paul’s fourth-quarter heroics.
“You guys tell me, you’re watching the same thing,” Booker mentioned. “It impresses us every time we see it, but it doesn’t surprise us. It’s just the will to win.”
The Mavs led 60-58 at halftime however the Suns rapidly recaptured the lead after Booker hit back-to-back 3-pointers early within the third. The Suns took an 89-83 benefit going into the ultimate quarter and it regarded like a tricky struggle was coming.
But that’s in regards to the time Paul determined the sport was his to regulate, hitting six pictures in a row on every little thing from 3-pointers to mid-range jumpers to layups. The feisty Mavericks lastly didn’t have a solution. Booker hit a pair of 3-pointers halfway by the fourth to present the Suns a 114-95 lead.
Booker led the Suns with 30 factors on 11-of-19 taking pictures, together with 5 of 8 from 3-point vary. The Suns shot 64.5 % general — which was a franchise file within the playoffs — and made 52% of their 3-pointers. They shot 84% from the sector (16 of 19) within the fourth quarter.
“We have good players,” Suns coach Monty Williams mentioned. “I’d love to sit here and tell you I’m moving the chess pieces around, but we have good players who can knock down shots.”
Game 3 is on Friday in Dallas.
The Mavericks will go dwelling in a 2-0 gap, desperately needing contributions from somebody apart from Luka Doncic, who scored 35 factors on 13-of-22 taking pictures two nights after a 45-point efficiency in Game 1.
“He had a great game, but no one else showed,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd mentioned. “We’ve got to get other guys shooting the ball better. We can’t win with just him out there scoring 30 a night. Not this time of the year and playing the best team in the league.”
Reggie Bullock added 16 factors for the Mavs.
“The mood is fine,” Doncic mentioned. “I think a lot of players, it’s the first time in this situation. They’ve got to win four, so it’s not over yet. We are going to go back home, our crowd is amazing.”
The Suns jumped out to a 9-0 lead for a second straight sport, however the Mavericks had a greater response than in Game 1.
Dallas slowly fought again and Spencer Dinwiddie hit a pair of free throws to tie the sport at 38. Davis Bertans adopted with a 3-pointer with 7:56 left within the second quarter to present the Mavs a 41-38 benefit and their first lead of the sequence.
The Mavs took a two-point lead after a foul-filled first half. Doncic scored 24 earlier than the break on 9-of-14 taking pictures, together with 4 of seven from 3-point vary. Jae Crowder led the Suns with 15.