The Dallas Mavericks scored 20 3-pointers and once again neutralized Phoenix point guard Chris Paul by beating seeded Suns 111-101 on Sunday and closing their streak of two-game Western Conference semi-finals each.
Star guard Luka Doncic scored 26 points and Dorian Finney-Smith added 24 for Dallas, who also won two home games to best-of-seven after losing their first two games in Phoenix.
The Suns, who finished the regular season with the best league record, will look to regain the lead when they host Game 5 on Tuesday. The series will definitely return to Dallas for Game 6 on Thursday.
The Philadelphia 76ers also won a second consecutive home game and drew with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Former NBA MVP James Harden scored 31 points by leading six Philadelphia players in double figures to a 116-108 win.
Center Joel Embiid, who missed the first two games with a concussion and a facial fracture, scored 24 points, his presence making things even more difficult for Miami in defense.
“The attacking organization helps a lot with him on the pitch,” said Danny Green of Philadelphia, who scored three 3-pointers on the road for 11 points. “Without him, we look a little upset.”
Embiid led the Sixers early, scoring 15 points in the first quarter. Harden, who didn’t score in the first half, took over with 13 points in the second and Philadelphia took a 64-56 lead at half-time after a 17-change lead in the first half.
The Sixers, leading 89-85 in fourth place, took the lead to 10 with less than six minutes to go. Miami had reduced it to five when Harden went on the edge for a basket and then drained a triple.
Embiid, still playing in a protective mask, grabbed an offensive rebound and fueled Tyrese Maxey for a dunk that made him 111-103, and Harden made another triple to bring the lead to 11 at 1:07 behind. end, effectively sealing the victory.
Harden scored 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“James was incredible for us tonight,” said Green of Harden, who also dropped seven rebounds and delivered nine assists in his strongest show of these playoffs.
His performance helped the Sixers endure a 40-point performance from Miami’s Jimmy Butler.
“We know it’s going to be harder to build them,” Green said of Game 5 in Miami on Tuesday. “We have to arrive more intense, more focused.”
In Dallas, the Mavericks kept the Suns at bay despite a poor shot from Doncic, who only connected nine of 25 shots and only one of 10 from a three-point distance.
Overall, the Mavs were on fire from beyond the arc, with eight three points in the first quarter helping them build a 37-25 lead.
Their 14 first-half three points equalized a franchise playoff record for a half.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 35 points. Jae Crowder added 15 and Deandre Ayton scored 14.
But the Mavericks bench surpassed the Phoenix reserves 36-26.
“This team has been fantastic,” said Doncic, who was exceptional but received little support in the opening two defeats of the Mavs series. “Everyone who arrives on the pitch leaves everything out there. If we play hard and stop, we are a dangerous team. “
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