How Chris Paul, Suns Are Overmatching Mavericks In Playoff Series

Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Chris Paul, Devin Booker, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The No. 1 seed in the Western Conference is showing why they are the top team on their side of the NBA playoff bracket. The Phoenix Suns, who currently hold a 2-0 lead over the Mavericks as the series shift to Dallas, took care of business at home inside Footprint Center.

In Game 1 on Monday, the Suns backcourt duo of Devin Booker and Chris Paul combined for 42 points, and DeAndre Ayton scored a team-high 25 points as all five starters were in double figures including Cameron Johnson’s 17 points off the bench. In addition, every Suns starter also recorded at least five rebounds as Booker came close to a triple-double with 23 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists in a 121-114 victory on May 2.

Game 2 on Wednesday evening saw the emergence of Devin Booker and Chris Paul. Booker scored a team-high 30 points in 36 minutes as four of the five starters were in double digits. However, it was Paul that took over by scoring 14 of his 28 points in the quarter for the win.

Even with Dallas’ Luka Doncic scoring 45 points in game one and 35 points in game two – both game-highs – Phoenix has found a way to stop the other players around Doncic.

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Dallas’ Jalen Brunson, who put up 24 points in games five and six against Utah in the first round, has a combined 24 points across the first two games against Phoenix.

The key in this series so far has been the rebounding. The Suns pulled down 51 rebounds, compared to the Dallas Mavericks’ 36, highlighted by 13-6 in favor of Phoenix on the offensive glass on Monday.

On Wednesday for game two, Phoenix won the rebounding advantage, 34-25. Rebounding has been the key in this series because it leads to more opportunities offensively or another chance to put up a shot, leading to a decisive moment in the series.

Like the rebounding, the defense has benefitted the Suns on Wednesday, limiting the Dallas Mavericks to 49 points in the second half. Phoenix scored 71, highlighted by 40 points in the final quarter, to receive the 20-point victory.

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With Ayton, in addition to Jae Crowder rebounding, the Suns have shown their experience, especially from a year ago when Phoenix reached the NBA Finals.

Led by Monty Williams, who was named a finalist for NBA Coach of the Year a few weeks ago, he has stressed defense and staying in front of players, especially with Mikal Bridges guarding Doncic.  

The strong defense is going to lead to offense and shots falling in. One player that is the benefactor is Crowder, who has three three-pointers in each of the first two games in the series after only knocking down three shots from beyond the arc during the entire series against New Orleans in the first round.  

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The series now goes to Dallas for Game 3 on Friday, and this game is crucial for both sides. The Mavericks need a win to get back in the series and have a chance to get within one of tying up the series at two wins apiece. If Chris Paul and Devin Booker lead the Suns to victory on the road, they will be one win away from closing out the series and reaching the Western Conference Finals.