Luka Had Little Help, Suns Depth Shined
The Phoenix Suns knew Luka Doncic would be a problem to defend. He proved to be but the Phoenix Suns depth to be greater in the Suns 121-114 win Monday night. Yes, Doncic impressed with 45 points and 12 rebounds but Spencer Dimwiddie and Jalen Brunson shot 9-24 from the field for 21 points. Maxi Kleiber at one point was 5-6 from three point range in the first half but he missed all three of attempts from long range in the second half.
Meanwhile the Suns bench, which struggled against the New Orleans Pelicans, gave the team a much needed boost. Cameron’s Johnson and Payne combined 10-18 shooting and 26 points. Their scoring helped the Suns maintain a double digit lead throughout most of the game. Johnson and Payne’s combined shooting, along with Jae Crowder’s, helped offset Dallas hot start from three. Crowder had three makes from three, as many as he had in the entire series against New Orleans.
Phoenix’s Rebounding, Better 3 Point Defense in Second Half, Keep Mavs at Arms Length
At one point Dallas started 9-17 from three point range, 53 percent, but they finished 7-22, 32 percent. The Suns better defense of the Mavericks long distance shooting, combined with their 51-36 rebounding edge, helped Phoenix maintain its double digit lead.
The Mavericks held Phoenix to 18-47 in the second half, but the Suns still had their seventh straight game shooting over 50 percent, 46-91. The Suns 13 offensive rebounds tied the team high in the playoffs so far. The rebounding edge showed late in the fourth quarter when the Suns had three possesions with more than one offensive rebound.
Looking Ahead to Game 2: Expect Devin Booker to be Better
In some ways expecting Devin Booker to be improve on his game one performance is asking maybe too much of him. His 9 rebounds and 8 assists led the team, after all. He shot just 7-20 overall and 1-5 from long range, not a typical night from the floor for Booker. Going forward in this series the Suns shooting guard elevates his game to his expected level, and Payne and Johnson play as well as the did tonight, Dallas will have as difficult a time as they did tonight.
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