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Luka Doncic fell towards the baseline after being hit by Chris Paul just before the half-time beep, the apprentice showed he saw one of the masters draw fouls.
The trick stimulated a fourth critical foul on Paul, setting the Dallas Maverick to get to a draw in the semifinals of the Western Conference.
Doncic scored 26 points as he helped Dallas take advantage of Paul’s foul problems to beat the Alone Fenice 111-101 Sunday for a 2-2 series draw.
“I saw he was going for the rebound and was surprised,” Doncic said. “He said to Me: ‘Did I push you that hard?’ I said, “No, not that hard. But it was a clever game. “And he said, ‘Yeah, I know.’”
Paul ended up being out of Game 4 early in the fourth quarter, the period in which he frequently dominated the Mavericks during an 11-game winning streak that ended with home streak wins for Dallas. Game 5 is Tuesday night in Phoenix.
Dorian Finney-Smith scored a career record of 24 points in the playoffs on the most 3 points he has had, regular season or playoffs. He was 8 of 12 from deep, including 3 in a row for a 14-point lead midway through the quarter.
Dallas equaled his 20 3 (20 out of 44) from a Mother’s Day defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011, a win that completed a four-game streak in the second round on the way to the championship. The Mavericks are playing past the first round for the first time since.
Devin Booker scored 35 points for the Suns, who left two in a row away with a 2-0 lead just like in last year’s NBA Finals. Milwaukee has won the last four to take the title. Seeded Phoenix lost consecutive playoffs for the first time.
“Last year was a learning experience for us,” Booker said. “We went to six games last year with the Lakers, six with the Clippers, six with the Bucks, six with New Orleans (this year). We understand it’s a series. There’s a reason for the playoffs.”
Turnover was Paul’s story of winning Game 3 in Dallas, when the 37-year-old made the most of any half of his playoff career with seven before half-time.
This time it was a foul, and it started when manager Monty Williams put him back into play with three in the last minute of the first half. Williams had knocked out Paul after his third place finish at 1:52.
Paul drove to try to score in the closing seconds but dropped the short shot so he made the unfortunate decision to chase the rebound.
“I have to think again,” Paul said. “I mean, I can’t put myself in the situation to give them that ability to do it. I just have to look at myself and figure out how to do it better.”
With just 2.5 minutes into the second half, Williams had no choice but to use his challenge when Paul stopped and reversed on Jalen Brunson as Paul started to take the ball onto the pitch. The fifth foul was confirmed in review.
The sixth also came against Brunson just a minute and a half after Paul’s return in the fourth. Paul finished with five points.
“Everyone has to take ownership, and it starts with me,” Williams said. “I made some decisions tonight that put us in a difficult position. We should have kept Chris out of the game, especially before half-time. And then, as a team, we have a responsibility to protect the ball, so we don’t. I don’t have to help.” much.”
Booker kept the Suns close in the fourth quarter despite long stretches without his defensive mate, but Doncic ultimately exhausted them with post-ups and other dry drives or assists.
With the Suns down six in the middle of the fourth quarter, Doncic backed off defense for a quick bank shot, followed by Finney’s 3 in a row.
Then the lead returned to eight when Doncic drove twice and went out on the 3-point line both times. Reggie Bullock scored the first and Brunson the second for a 105-95 lead with 2:52 left. Eight of Doncic’s 11 assists were on 3 seconds.
“Luka told me when I was five 3s, he said, ‘You’re going to get more,’” said Finney-Smith, who finished by one step Jason Terry’s Dallas franchise playoff record 9 3 in. Mother’s Lakers Day Itinerary. “When LD tells you you’re about to get 3 more, I thought I’d get some.”
It wasn’t clear what Paul was talking about after the game when he tweeted about the family of a player approached by fans in Dallas. He wasn’t asked by the reporters after the game. “I want to fine players for saying things to fans, but fans can get their hands on our families,” Paul wrote before adding a curse.
“The Dallas Mavericks are aware of an incident between a fan and Chris Paul’s family,” the Mavericks said in a statement. “It was unacceptable behavior and it will not be tolerated. The Mavericks, along with the American Airlines Center, quickly removed the fan from today’s game.”
Suns: Crowder kept Phoenix afloat early when the Mavericks were shooting 60% better from 3, hitting a couple from depth. He finished with 15. Deandre Ayton scored 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Mavericks: Finney-Smith’s five 3s in the first half were the best of any half of his career, regular season or playoffs. … Brunson scored 18 points. Davis Bertans started 4 out of 4 out of 3 and finished with 12 points.