Suns, Mavs now a best-of-three
Ayton notches double double as Suns falls on Mother’s Day; series tied 2-2
It’s a new series for Bahamian professional basketball player DeAndre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns as they fell 111-101 to the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, on Mother’s Day. Now, the National Basketball Association (NBA) Western Conference semifinal best-of-seven series is deadlocked at two games apiece.
Ayton dropped his first double-double of the series in a losing effort on Sunday, but it’s now a best-of-three series with the scene shifting back to the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Playing in front of his mother, Andrea Ayton, for the the first time in his four-year career on Mother’s Day, the Bahamian big man scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in 32 minutes on the floor. He went 7-for-12 from the field, shooting a blistering 58.3 percent. He was great on the offensive and defensive glass.
The Suns were out of sync for both games three and four, especially the fourth game, as they dug themselves into a hole early, giving up eight three-point shots in the first quarter. Also, they turned the ball over 17 times on Sunday compared to just 11 for Dallas.
All-Star point guard Chris Paul was a non-factor in this game as he was fouled out for the fourth time in his postseason career, finishing with more fouls than points. He had just five points in the game, and had four fouls in the first half alone. On Friday night, the Suns’ leader turned the ball over seven times in the first half.
Booker stepped up and scored 35 points and had seven boards on Sunday, but it was not enough.
Luka Dončić led the way for the Mavericks with 26 points and 11 assists despite shooting 9-for-25 from the field. Coming up short in the first two games of the series was Dončić’s supporting cast. However in the fourth game, Dorian Finney-Smith stepped up for his team with a playoff-career high 24 points. He shot 8-for-12 from deep for those 24 points.
The game had just one lead change and was tied three times as the Suns could not get a game-changing run.
Ayton had four shot attempts in the first quarter and made two of them. His first made shot, a layup, gave the Suns their only lead of the game, 7-5, with 9:43 left in the first quarter. At the end of the first quarter, the Mavericks led 37-25.
In the second quarter, both teams scored 31 points. The Suns cut their deficit to seven points, 57-50, with 3:36 left in the first half. The Mavericks fought back and went up 68-56 at the intermission.
Coming out of the intermission, the Suns went on a 7-0 scoring run to get to within 68-63 at the 8:50 mark. The Mavericks, like they did in the first half, found a way to shake off the Suns with a 7-0 run of their own. They led 75-63 at the 7:20 mark in the third quarter. The Suns outscored the Mavs 22-19 to go into the fourth quarter down 87-78.
Paul checked into the game with five fouls at the 10:28 mark of the fourth quarter and looked to breathe some life into the Suns. However, at the 8:58 mark he fouled out of the game with the Mavericks up 89-81. It was all Mavericks for the remainder of the game.
The Suns shot better than the Mavericks from the field at a 46.4 percent compared to the Mavericks’ 44.7 percent, and also out-rebounded the Mavericks for the fourth straight time in the series, 44-37. The biggest difference was the long-range shots where the Suns only had nine compared to the Mavericks’ 20.
Ayton is averaging 16 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in the series and is shooting 54.6 percent from the field.
The series now heads back to Phoenix deadlocked at two games apiece. Ayton and company will look to take the 3-2 lead on the Mavs. Game Five is set for tonight, getting underway at 10 p.m. That game will be televised on TNT.