Phoenix — Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd has sent a similar message after both games so far in the Western Conference semifinals: Luka Doncic He needs more help against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns.
Dallas wasted another impressive attacking performance from Doncic in Game Two on Wednesday, when he scored 35 points on a 13-of-22 shot in a 129-109 loss as the Suns snatched a 2-0 lead. The Suns repeatedly targeted Doncic defensively while the Maves fired for 71 points in the second half.
“He put in a great game, but no one else showed up,” Kidd said. “We have to get the other players to shoot better. We can’t win alone by scoring 30 points a night – not at this time of year. And we’re playing the best team in the league, so we have to get the other guys to go.”
Kidd specifically mentioned that the Mavs need more production from the guards Galen Bronson And Spencer Dinwiddy, who scored only 41 points on a 32.6% shootout in two losses at the center footprint. It’s a particularly stark contrast to the previous series for Bronson, who starred in a first-round win over the Utah Jazz, averaging 27.8 points in a six-game series.
Chris Paul And Devin BookerThe Suns all-star guard, partly dominated Wednesday night by chasing Doncic relentlessly. This was particularly the case in the second half, when Booker scored 21 of 30 points and Paul scored 20 of 28.
“It’s a tough game to guard, but he’s going to have to guard a little bit,” Booker said of Doncic.
According to second-spectrum tracking, Doncic was the defender to count on 19 screens on the ball in the second half, the third most in any half of his career. Suns averaged 1.81 points per chance on that property. This is the highest efficiency allowed by a single defender who has made at least 15 direct selections over the past three seasons.
“I have to play better in defence,” Doncic said. “This is.”
The Suns blew the game open in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, extending their lead from six to 15, as Paul took control of the match, scoring 14 points and two assists during that time. Paul Doncic tapped the keys for a pair of easy passes and retractable jumps, as well as finding Cameron Johnson For Pointer 3, during the decisive round 21-7.
“We need to do a better job of helping him,” Kidd said of targeting Doncic. “They’re bringing him to everything. We knew about his entry into the series. We knew that in the last series. We did a better job protecting each other, not just Luca. We have to go back to protecting one of our ‘others’ 3 game at home.”
It was a historically effective offensive performance by Booker, Paul and the Suns. Phoenix set a playoff record by shooting 64.5% from the floor, including 84.2% in the fourth quarter. The Suns had a 75.7% true shooter percentage. According to ESPN stats and information research, this ranks second all-time in a playoff, trailing only the Los Angeles Clippers by 77.8% in a Game 5 win over the Mavericks in the first round of 2020.
Paul, who also had eight assists, was particularly brilliant. He went 11 of 16 off the ground, including 9 of 10 in the second half. Booker went 11 of 19 from the floor and 5 of 8 from a 3-point range, with all 3s coming after the break.
“When you look at CP and Book, they take turns,” Kidd said. “One took the third quarter, the next one took the fourth, and we had no answers… They got the shots they wanted. CP got into his positions and made kicks and made jump shots. The book made 3 seconds. They are really good. They understand the situation. They have They’ve seen everything. We just have to be better.”
The Mavs, who are playing in the second round for the first time since the 2011 franchise championship, will be looking for solutions as they return to Dallas on Thursday.
“A lot of players, this is the first time in this situation,” Doncic said. “We think, man. They should win by four, so it’s not over yet.”
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