For the first-time this NBA postseason, we are going to have a winner take all, battle to the death, leave no survivors Game 7!
Maybe that is a little too harsh, but you get the idea!
The Dallas Mavericks won 113-86 at home over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night, forcing a decisive Game 7 in this Western Conference Semifinals series and putting the defending Western Conference champions’ backs up against the wall.
Luka Doncic and the Mavericks have not backed down one bit in this series and now, they hold the momentum heading into Sunday’s game.
Home court advantage has been extremely relevant in this series, as both the Suns and Mavericks are 3-0 on their home courts in this series. Having one last home game, Phoenix is going to be very confident, but they should absolutely be concerned after what Dallas did in Game 6.
Once again, the Mavericks were able to get inside the heads of the Suns, something virtually no team has been able to do this year simply because of how poised and experienced this Suns’ group is. Frustrations have set in for Phoenix and this was very apparent on Thursday night in Dallas.
The Suns turned the ball over 22 times, resulting in 29 points for the Mavericks, and they struggled again shooting the ball, as they went just 31-78 (39.7%) from the floor and 6-18 (33.3%) from deep.
Heading into Game 7 on Sunday, let’s take a look back on what happened in Game 6 and three key takeaways from that game.
There’s Something About That Dallas Water Phoenix Does Not Like
I do not know what it is about Dallas, but the Phoenix Suns just simply cannot win there this postseason.
The good news for them is that Game 7 is on their home floor, but what is it about Dallas?
In this series, Phoenix has gone 0-3 on the road against the Mavericks and they have lost these three games by a combined 46 points.
Compared to shooting 54.3% from the floor and 42.4% from three-point range at home, the Suns have shot just 43.7% from the floor and 39.4% from three-point range on the road in this series.
You have to give a ton of credit to the way the Mavericks have defended home court in this series and how their role players have stepped up, but a lot of what the Suns’ misfortune comes down to is the fact that they have let the Mavericks’ fans and bad calls on the road get in their heads.
Normally the most poised team in the league, the Suns have shown signs of cracking in their mentality in this series and they have really struggled on the road as a result.
The Suns Need To Calm Down On The Floor And Get Back To The Basics
One of the biggest reasons the Suns lost Game 6 in Dallas was not because their offense struggled, it was because they let their emotions get the best of them. Not only did this result in Dallas taking advantage of the Suns defensively, but it also resulted in Phoenix having careless turnovers possession after possession.
The Suns turned the ball over a total of 22 times on Thursday night, which resulted in 29 points going the other way for the Mavericks. In the grand scheme of things, if you take away just 5-6 of these turnovers, maybe the Mavs score 10-12 less points than they did and all of a sudden, this game would not have been as out of hand as it was.
Now, this is a very bold statement and everything that happens over the course of the game changes the outcome, so no turnover or no basket “won the game" essentially, but Phoenix did everything wrong offensively, which directly impacted why they lost.
You can point the finger at Devin Booker due to the fact he had 8 turnovers in Game 6, but Chris Paul is the main factor for the Suns that needs to be better.
Over the last four games, Paul has turned the ball over at least 4 times in three of the last four games and he is averaging 4.5 turnovers per game in this span.
During the regular season, Paul averaged just 2.4 turnovers per game and there was no span of games during the regular season that the veteran point guard turned the ball over this much.
In fact, Paul only recorded four or more turnovers in a game nine times all year!
Phoenix made it to the NBA Finals last season because they took care of the basketball and had Chris Paul initiating their offense. Dallas has done a good job of making him uncomfortable in this series, but Paul is a future Hall-of-Famer and he needs to be this kind of player in Game 7 if the Suns are to advance.
Spencer Dinwiddie & Defense – The Two Keys To Success For Dallas
Luka Doncic is a terrific, generational-type of talent and Jalen Brunson is a perfect complimentary guard for the Mavericks to have, but the two key reasons they have extended this series to seven games is because of their defense and the play of Spencer Dinwiddie.
Starting with their defense, Dallas has held the fifth-best scoring offense in the league this year under 100 points twice in this series and they held them to just 101 points another time.
Stopping Devin Booker from driving downhill to the basket has been a priority for this team all series long and Dallas has done a great job of collapsing into the lane when Phoenix looks to attack because they know that the Suns do not want to settle for three-pointers.
While they are more than capable of making threes, the Suns ranked 26th in the league in three-point attempts during the regular season and they ranked 4th in points in the paint as a team.
So, coming into this series, head coach Jason Kidd and the Mavericks devised a plan to stop Phoenix from attacking the paint, something they have had a ton of success with.
They struggled to do so in Games 1 and 2 of this series, but since then, the Mavs have had the upper hand in terms of team defense and defensive efficiency.
As for Spencer Dinwiddie, he is the key to Dallas unlocking their full potential on offense.
He is only averaging 11.8 points and 3.7 assists in the playoffs, but Dinwiddie is a crafty player that has proven to be a factor from deep in this series, shooting 45% from long-range against the Suns.
Scoring 15 points off-the-bench on 5-7 shooting from deep on Thursday, Spencer Dinwiddie really helped extend the Mavericks’ lead in Game 6 and he is their X-factor simply because he is not the center of attention on offense.
Jalen Brunson and Luka Doncic both garner so much attention from Phoenix, which allows guys like Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie to play one-on-one at times.
Being a primary scorer earlier in his career, Dinwiddie has proven to be a scoring threat with the ball in his hands and heading into Game 7, the Mavericks will count on him to be a factor off-the-bench yet again in hopes of advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the first-time since 2011.