By Byron Moten
Both teams won on their home court the first six games, respectfully. One of these teams would have to win on the road, by dominating fashion on both ends of the floor. The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Phoenix Suns and will advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since winning the NBA Championship in 2011.
The best player in this series, Luka Doncic hit his first 3 shots of the game and never looked back. He ends up with 35pts and added in 10 assists. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 30 points off the bench, which is by far the best game he’s had this series, and in the playoffs. Doncic and Dinwiddie are the 8th pair of teammates to both drop 30+ points in a Game 7. The last time this happened was back in 2002 with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Postgame, Luka says, “I’m very happy and can’t get this smile off my face. Honestly, I think we deserved this. We’ve been playing hard this whole series and we came here with a statement. We believed. Our locker room believed. I’m just happy. The whole team tonight was incredible.”
Jalen Brunson scored 24 points. Majority of his scoring was in the paint and mid-range; taking advantage and providing matchup problems for the Suns backcourt. Postgame he says “They didn’t expect this type of outcome. But we knew we had a chance to win. We kept that belief within each other and did what he had to do tonight. We beat a good team. A team that was supposed to go the finals. Now it’s time for us to focus on the Warriors.”
Head coach Jason Kidd outcoached the reigning NBA coach of the year, Monty Williams. Jason Kidd states, “We are not looking at the blowout. We just came in and executed our game plan. Offensively and defensively, we were active. You could see the pressure was on them missing shots they normally make. The guys did a great job for 48 minutes.”
The swarming defense of the Mavericks held the Suns to shooting 37% from the floor and 35% from the three-point line. Chris Paul and Devin Booker was moved out of their spots and positions on the floor to hit any mid-range or three-point shots. Booker went scoreless going into halftime; finishing the game with 11 points. Paul scored 10 points, making this his 5th time losing a playoff series after leading the series 2-0. The Suns only shot 37% from the field. The Suns are now the second team in NBA history to win more than 64 games and not make it to the Conference Finals.
This will be the first time the Mavericks will face the Warriors since 2007’s disappointing first round loss, as they were the number one seed that season winning 67 games. The first game of the Western Conference Finals will be on Wednesday, May 18th.