Did Phoenix Suns' trash talk to Luka Doncic, Mavericks come back to haunt them?

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May 15, 2022; Phoenix, Ariz..U.S.; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) makes a face after Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) made a basket and was fouled during game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals at Footprint Center.
May 15, 2022; Phoenix, Ariz..U.S.; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) makes a face after Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) made a basket and was fouled during game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals at Footprint Center.

Trash talk is as engrained in hoops culture as the pebbles on a basketball.

If you believe sports are 90% mental and 10% physical, derisive chatter, brutish and flippant antics among players on the court and in the media will always be strategized to get inside an opponents' heads.

But the players who don't back it up and ultimately lose eat the biggest slice of humble pie. Such is the Suns' case, eating their words and behavior after getting manhandled by Luka Doncic and the Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals Game 7 on Sunday.

After being up 2-0 in the series, the Suns had several instances of bantering with the Mavericks, as viral clips surfaced on social media and during the remainder of the series. The clips were mainly between Booker and Doncic because they were the series' focal points as their team's most talented All-Stars.

And that's not to say the Mavericks didn't do the same in return as the games became more intense in Dallas, and when both teams returned to Phoenix in Games 5 and 7.

"I like it,'' Doncic said after their 27-point win over the Suns in Game 6. "When people trash-talk to me. It gets me going. It's fun."

It became too much fun for Doncic, who averaged 32.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists, as the Mavericks beat Phoenix in four of the series' last five games.

Booker claims nothing got hostile between him and Doncic. They just left it all on the court in the spirit of competition during the high stakes playoff battle, and Booker expressed his sportsmanship.

“Nothing ever got chippy in between us throughout the whole series," Booker said after Game 7. "I just told him, ‘Way to play, congratulations, and good luck the rest of the way.’”

Nothing chippy between them. But petty?

One clip that popped up showed Booker quickly snatching the ball from Doncic's clutches in Game 5 during a dead ball to start a Suns possession, which visibly ticked off the Slovenian phenom.

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That same game, Booker mocked Doncic as he feigned an injury and stayed on the floor out of bounds after a hard shooting foul from Dorian Finney-Smith on a drive. Booker called that "The Luka Special" to poke fun at him flopping on plays.

Doncic said at the Mavericks' May 12 practice to prepare for Game 6 he didn't care about Booker mocking him. But he definitely took a mental note for vengeance.

In another moment in Game 5, Suns center Bismack Biyombo stirred up emotions between himself and Mavericks reserve big Marquese Chriss when the Suns were up 108-80 with about three seconds left. Biyombo tried to dunk, and a Chriss fouled him.

There's an unwritten rule in the NBA that when a team has conceded a loss and the reserves have replaced the starters, the winning team runs the clock out and doesn't try to add to the final score — let alone dunking on the losing team. But this got personal between Biyombo and Chriss.

Biyombo claims the fracas began with Chriss claiming he'd continue to play hard in the final 30 seconds by getting offensive rebounds on him, and Biyombo took exception to some expletives Chriss said to him.

That led to a double technical foul on both players, both were ejected, then Biyombo raised his hand and waved goodbye as he entered the players' tunnel. That angered Chriss, who then charged after Biyombo and the arena security had to separate them before punches were thrown, according to TNT sideline reporter Allie LaForce.

"We're trying to win the game," Suns coach Monty Williams said after Game 5. "I get the competitiveness of the game, but we're just trying to win the game."

Those types of moments led to Doncic's infamous smug postgame quip "Everybody acts tough when they up" en route to the locker room after the Suns took a 3-2 series lead.

The banter spilled over to Game 6.

After Doncic grabbed his fourth and final steal of the game, then scored at 4:15 in the final period, Booker was called for an offensive foul eight seconds later as he tried to set a hard screen on Doncic while Jae Crowder handled the ball. Doncic flailed his arms during the contact, then raised his arms to boost the Dallas crowd's cheers, looked at Booker and repeatedly mouthed, "Yeah, that's right!" as the Mavericks were up 104-84.

Finally, the Suns went from staging their glorious “Valley-Oop” in their run to the NBA Finals last season to playing in their brutal "Valley-Oof!" on Sunday.

Booker called the Suns’ Game 7 loss a "good old-fashioned ass-whooping, beginning to end."

Doncic scored the Mavericks' first eight of his game-high 35 points, including half of their first 10 field goals made, and 27 by halftime to match the Suns' total.

Doncic smiled or mean-mugged after every shot he hit as he torched the Suns. That included his step-back 3s, post-up and fadeaway shots on Deandre Ayton in the paint, spin moves toward layups, and crossover dribbles and deep shots such as the one which dropped Cam Johnson to the floor.

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Then Mavericks' sixth man Spencer Dinwiddie came in and dropped 30 points (11-of-15 FG) in just over 25 minutes, including five 3s, four of which he hit in the first half. And their starting point guard Jalen Brunson's 24 points had the Dallas trio's 89 points combined nearly outscore Phoenix's total 90.

Booker and Chris Paul combined for three points at halftime as Phoenix was down by 30, and they finished with 11 and 10, respectively.

Denzel Washington's lead role in the Frank Lucas biopic film "American Gangster" had a memorable line about drawing unnecessary attention to oneself, "The loudest person in the room is the weakest person in the room."

The Suns looked the weakest in the end after talking loud to Doncic and the Mavericks.

“I don’t know. I mean you can make a case for some of that stuff," Suns coach Monty Williams said to the media on Monday. "My charge to our team and they will tell you that I tell them to just focus on winning, and don’t get distracted with the antics that can happen in a game. But it happens if you look at every playoff series, there’s gonna be that stuff."

Williams added, "The teams that can focus on winning and focus on the game typically have more success. But I don’t know. We’re speculating if you think that that was the reason why you lost or lost a series. At the end of the day, it always comes down to the production on the floor. Can that stuff be a distraction? Yeah, it can be. But it’s hard to say if it was."

Phoenix was in the Mavericks' position last year before they became the West champion.

The Suns were the hunters as the second seed against the heavily favored seventh-seeded rival and then-defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

In Game 3, LeBron James laughed at Crowder who guarded him one-on-one and made a slick reverse layup move as the Lakers screamed in jest late in the fourth quarter as the Suns were getting blown out. Then Booker suplexed Dennis Schroder after he said something egregious to him in the closing seconds, and Booker got a Flagrant 1 foul.

Then Booker had the most dominant playoff performance of his career in Game 6 in L.A. as he dropped 47 points and shot flawless 6-of-6 from the 3. Also, Crowder and the Suns won the series, 4-2 after being down 2-1.

Crowder, who had 18 points, eight rebounds and two blocks that game, also got the last laugh for his viral salsa dance late in the fourth, which imitated James in his Mountain Dew commercial.

The Suns became the hunted team as the No. 1 overall playoff seed and defending West champion this season.

Plus, Dallas had nothing to lose after Phoenix swept them in their three regular-season matchups.

In the end, the Mavericks had more to say riding high into the West finals, and Phoenix will be much quieter in a longer off-season than expected.

Have tips for us? Reach the reporter at dana.scott@azcentral.com or at 480-486-4721. Follow his Twitter @iam_DanaScott.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Did Phoenix Suns' trash talk to come back to haunt them?