Three Things We Learned from Suns-Mavericks’ Game 6 on Tuesday
The Dallas Mavericks beat the Phoenix Suns 113 to 86 in Game 6 in their Western Conference Semifinals series. This forced a decisive Game 7 at Phoenix.
We will have a winner-take-all, fight to the death, no survivors Game 7 for the first time in the NBA postseason!
Perhaps that’s a bit harsh, but it is the point!
The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Phoenix Suns 113 to 86 at home on Thursday night. This forced a crucial Game 7 in the Western Conference Semifinals series and put the Western Conference champions against the wall.
Luka Doncic has not relented in this series, and they now have the momentum going into Sunday’s game.
This series has shown that home court advantage is very important. Both the Suns (and Mavericks) are 3-0 on their respective home courts. Phoenix will be confident in their home final game. However, they should be worried after the Dallas Game 6.
The Mavericks managed to penetrate the Suns’ heads once again. This is something that virtually no other team has been able to do this year, simply because this Suns’ group was so experienced and poised. Phoenix has been frustrated and it was evident in Dallas on Thursday night.
The Suns made 22 turnovers, which resulted in 29 points for Mavericks. They also struggled to shoot the ball again, going just 31-78 (39%%) from the floor and 6-18 (33.3%) deep.
Let’s look back at Game 6 to see what happened and the three main takeaways that were learned.
Dallas Water Phoenix is Not What You Expect
It is something about Dallas that I don’t understand, but the Phoenix Suns simply can’t win there in this postseason.
They have the good news that Game 7 will be on their home floor. But what about Dallas?
Phoenix is currently 0-3 against the Mavericks in this series and has lost all three games by 46 points.
The Suns shot only 43.7% from the floor and just 39.4% from the three-point range at home.
It is important to credit the Mavericks for their defense of the home court and the role players who have played a major part in that. However, the Suns’ woes are largely due to their inability to control their emotions and letting the Mavericks’ fans down.
The Suns are normally the most composed team in the league. However, they have been showing signs of weakness in their mentality and have struggled on the road.
Suns Must Calm Down on the Floor and Get Back to Basics
The Suns’ loss in Dallas Game 6 was not due to their offense failing, but because they allowed their emotions to get the better of them. This resulted not only in Dallas being able to take advantage of the Suns defensively but also in Phoenix making careless possession after possession.
On Thursday night, the Suns turned over the ball 22 times. This resulted in 29 points for the Mavericks. If you subtract just 5-6 of these turnovers from the game, the Mavericks might have scored 10-12 more points. This would make the game less chaotic.
This is a bold statement. Everything that happens during the game affects the outcome. Phoenix didn’t turn the ball over or make a basket, and they lost. However, Phoenix was offensively terrible, which directly affected why they lost.
Devin Booker’s 8 turnovers in Game 6 can be attributed to him, but Chris Paul is the key factor that the Suns need to improve.
Paul has averaged 4.5 turnovers per game over the past four games.
Paul had an average of 2.4 turnovers per match during the regular season. There was also no time in the regular season when the veteran point guard did not turn the ball over as often.
Paul actually only had four or more turnovers per game nine times throughout the year.
Because they handled the basketball and had Chris Paul start their offense, Phoenix reached the NBA Finals. Dallas has made Paul uncomfortable throughout this series, but Paul will be a future Hall-of-Famer. He needs to be that kind of player in Game 7, if the Suns want to advance.
Dallas: Defense and Spencer Dinwiddie are the Keys to Success
Luka Doncic is an outstanding, generational talent, and Jalen Brunson provides a great complement to the Mavericks’ guard. However, the Mavericks have extended the series to seven games because of Spencer Dinwiddie’s defense and his play.
Dallas’ defense has been the best in league scoring this year, holding them to less than 100 points twice. They also held them to 101 points the other time.
This team has made it a priority to stop Devin Booker from driving downhill toward the basket throughout the series. Dallas has done an excellent job of collapsing into a lane when Phoenix attempts to attack, knowing that the Suns will not settle for three-pointers.
They are capable of making threes but the Suns were 26th in league three-point attempts in the regular season. As a team, they were 4th in points inside the basket.
The Mavericks and Jason Kidd, the head coach, devised a plan for Phoenix to not attack the paint. This strategy has been a huge success.
In Games 1 and 2, they struggled, but the Mavericks have been able to win in terms of defensive efficiency and team defense.
Spencer Dinwiddie is the key to Dallas’ offensive potential.
While he is averaging just 11.8 points and 3 assists in the playoffs but Dinwiddie, a skilled player, has been a force from deep in this series shooting 45% from long range against the Suns.
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 15 points on Thursday’s 5-7 deep shooting, which was a great effort to extend the Maverick’s lead in Game 6. He is their X factor simply because he isn’t the focus of attention on offense.
Jalen Brunson, Luka Doncic, and Spencer Dinwiddie both get so much attention from Phoenix that they are allowed to play one-on-1 at times.
Dinwiddie was a key scorer in his early career. The Mavericks expect him to continue to be a factor off the bench in Game 7. This will help them reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2011.