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Suns Have no Answer to Early Deficit in Blowout Loss to Mavericks

The Phoenix Suns took on the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines center on Monday night.

In the second of back-to-back games, the Phoenix Suns (16-7) went into Dallas to take on the current MVP runner-up, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks (11-11). Coming off a dominant 38-point win over the Spurs, the Suns were looking to carry over their success into Dallas. 

This was unfortunately not the case as the Suns fell to the Mavericks 130-111.

A 19-point loss was not what the Suns expected, but a sizeable early deficit was too much to overcome. Doncic led the way for Dallas, scoring 33 points with eight assists and six rebounds. 

Deandre Ayton again paved the way for Phoenix with a 20/8 performance. This was Ayton's second straight game scoring 20 or more points; however, contributions were lacking elsewhere. Devin Booker struggled from the field as he shot just 4-13, amounting to nine of his 11 points.  

Suns' First Half Struggles

The Suns couldn't get it going throughout the first quarter. This was primarily due to the efforts of Josh Green. Defensively as well as offensively, Green was giving it his all. Phoenix seemingly lacking effort and energy, were fully taken advantage of early. 

The Suns appeared to be in panic mode as early as the first quarter. Rather than being able to settle down with the ball safely, they would either force a tough shot or get lazy with ball protection. The Mavericks, seeing this early, jumped out to an 18-point lead after the first quarter. 

When asked about the Suns' 15-point first quarter, head coach Monty Williams said that "it's only a good sign if the other team has 14," visibly upset with the Suns' first-quarter efforts. 

Dallas kept their foot on the gas in the second quarter extending their lead to 26 points by halftime. Heading into the break, Williams had a lot of adjustments to make if he wanted to leave the American Airlines Center with a win.

Second Half Efforts Weren't Enough to Overcome Deficit  

Phoenix started the second half off on the right track, playing their best quarter of the game by far. After a slow first few minutes, a deep ball from Cameron Payne sparked a light in the Suns' offense. Mikal Bridges led the way scoring nine of his 13 points in the quarter. The Suns outscored the Mavs 34-29 in the third quarter, cutting the lead down to 21 going into the fourth. 

Unfortunately, the fourth-quarter efforts by Phoenix weren't enough, as they only outscored Dallas by two points, cutting the lead down to 19. Despite a solid performance from Ayton and a double-double from Payne, Doncic and the Mavs were able to hold off the Suns after a dominant first-half performance. 

After shooting an absurd 19-37 from beyond the arc against the Spurs, the Suns shot just 13-37 against the Mavericks. This opposed Dallas shooting 20-41 from deep, a ridiculous 48 percent on 41 attempts. An ugly loss to a pretty good team is expected after an inhuman performance one day prior. The Suns still sit atop the Western Conference, so there is no real cause for concern. However, two losses in three games are uncharacteristic, and they will look to get back on track on Wednesday against the Celtics.