NBA playoffs: Mavericks shut down Suns to cut series deficit to 2-1

For the third time of the Dallas Mavericks' second-round series, Luka Doncic had a good game.

For the first time in the series, so did the rest of the Mavericks.

Dallas topped the Phoenix Suns 103-94 in Game 3 on Friday to cut their series deficit to 2-1, breathing life back into their hopes of upsetting the NBA's top team of the regular season. Doncic was again brilliant, finishing with 26 points on 11-of-25 shooting, 13 rebounds, nine assists and two steals, but he was joined by Mavericks point guard Jalen Brunson (28 points, five assists), not to mention a strong team effort on defense.

A team that ranked sixth in the NBA in defensive efficiency held the Suns (third in offensive efficiency) to their lowest scoring output of the season after allowing 129 and 121 points in the first two games of the series. They made life particularly miserable for Chris Paul, who had 12 points, four assists and seven turnovers.

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After a strong opening from the Suns, the Mavericks jumped out to a nine-point lead by the end of the first quarter. Phoenix never cut the lead to close than seven points for the rest of the game.

The two teams are now set for a pivotal Game 4 in Dallas on Sunday.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) celebrates a score against the Phoenix Suns during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Friday, May 6, 2022, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Luka Doncic and the Mavericks are back in the series. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)