Suns’ offense struggles, lose Game 3 in Dallas

Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) shoots against the Dallas Mavericks during the first half...
Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) shoots against the Dallas Mavericks during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Friday, May 6, 2022, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)(Tony Gutierrez | AP)
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 9:03 PM MST
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DALLAS (3TV/CBS 5) — The Phoenix Suns struggled shooting in Dallas and ran out of time to pull off a comeback against the Mavericks on Friday night, 103-94. Jae Crowder had 19 points on 5-8 from three-point land to lead the Suns. Luka Doncic got his fifth foul with 7:56 left in the game but the Suns couldn’t capitalize and didn’t make a significant run in his absence. Doncic was one assist away from a triple-double, ending the game with 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. Game 4 is on Sunday in Dallas.

The Mavs’ defense smothered the Suns’ two best players, Chris Paul and Devin Booker. They combined for only 30 points and 12 turnovers to only 10 assists. Paul never made it to the free-throw line. As a team, they only shot 45% from the field. It was the first time the Suns were held to under 100 points during this year’s playoffs. The team had been held to double digits in scoring only seven times during the regular season.

The Mavs started the third quarter on an 8-2 run, to increase their lead to double digits, 59-46, with an alley-oop dunk by Dwight Powell being the exclamation point. Paul also got a technical foul, apparently upset about an out-of-bounds call 30 seconds earlier. With 7:01 in the third, Doncic hit a three-pointer to give the Mavs a 69-51 lead. Booker and Paul had eight assists and 12 turnovers through three quarters.

The Suns’ struggles on offense were obvious in the second quarter. They didn’t get their first points until three and a half minutes in when JaVale McGee made a seven-footer. The team added only 24 points in the quarter, making their 44 points their lowest-scoring playoff game in 2022 but were only down seven at the break. Paul had seven points but also seven turnovers. Crowder was 3-3 in the first half from three and led the Suns in scoring with 11 points.

The Mavericks used the home court to their advantage in the first quarter. Jalen Brunson, who had been averaging 11 points on just 31% during the first two games of the series, had 10 points in the quarter. Doncic was held in check, shooting only 2-9 in the quarter for four points. The Suns scored only 20 points, their lowest total for a quarter in the series.