In a stunning and unexpected turn of events in Phoenix, The Dallas Mavericks pulverized the number one team record wise in the league, the Phoenix Suns, to punch their ticket to the Western Conference Finals. Dallas will face the Golden State Warriors beginning Wednesday night at Chase Center in San Francisco.
Not only did the Mavs win Game 7 in Phoenix on Sunday night, but they did so in historic blowout fashion. Dallas won 123-90 as Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie became the first teammates to score 30+ points each since Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant did it for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002. After being doubted in the first round against the Utah Jazz, when Luka Doncic was injured for the first three games of the series, and then again in the second round against the league-best Phoenix Suns, the Mavs have overcome all of that to play in the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2011.
The 33-point win was also the second-largest for the best-of-seven series clincher in league history. The fact that Dallas was able to do it as the road team made it even more impressive, as home teams had won nearly 80 percent of the time in Game 7 history heading into Sunday’s game.
Simply put, the Suns looked overwhelmed by the pressure of a Game 7. They missed shots they usually make, made bad passes they usually don’t make and looked nothing like the team that won an NBA-best 64 games during the regular season. Phoenix’s All-Star backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker was never a factor. The 37-year-old Paul is a 12-time All-Star that has done just about everything possible in the game except win a championship.
“That group has a lot of character and integrity and I know how bad they wanted it,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “We just could not execute tonight. Couldn’t make a shot early, that messed with us a little bit and Dallas played their tails of from start to finish.”
After this setback, it’s fair to wonder if there will be many more opportunities. Booker finished with 11 points and shot 3 of 14. Paul had 10 points and four assists. The Suns shot just 37.9% from the field. Deandre Ayton played just 18 minutes and finished with five points and four rebounds. When asked about Ayton’s lack of playing time, Williams responded “It’s internal.” Ayton did not speak to the media postgame.