Mavericks catch fire from deep to tie series with Suns as flustered Chris Paul fouls out

·3 min read

Through two games, the Dallas Mavericks looked outclassed by the Phoenix Suns.

Two games later, the Western Conference semifinals are tied at 2-2 thanks to a 111-101 Mavericks win on Sunday, their second straight since the series shifted to Dallas. The Mavericks caught fire from 3-point distance and flustered Chris Paul, who played less than four minutes in the second half before fouling out early in the fourth quarter. Dallas secured the win despite a poor shooting effort from Luka Doncic and heads back to Phoenix for Game 5 with the outcome of the series very much in the balance.

Scorching effort from long distance

The Mavericks jumped out to a 29-20 first-quarter lead thanks largely to success from beyond the 3-point arc, where they shot 8 of 13 in the opening stanza. By halftime, they'd connected on 14 of 24 attempts from deep, tying a franchise playoff record for 3-pointers in any half. For the game, they shot 20 of 42 from distance, good for a 46.5% clip against a Suns defense that ranked third in defensive rating in the regular season and stifled the Mavericks through the first two games of the series.

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul defends Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic during Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinals series at American Airlines Center in Dallas on May 8, 2022. (Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul defends Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic during Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinals series at American Airlines Center in Dallas on May 8, 2022. (Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports)

Davis Bertans, acquired from the Washington Wizards in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, connected on 4 of 5 attempts from distance in a scorching six-minute stretch of the first half. Dorian Finney-Smith scored all 24 of his points from long distance while shooting 8 of 12 from beyond the arc.

Doncic's effort was the only Dallas blight from beyond the arc as he connected on just one of his 10 attempts. But he made his impact elsewhere while tallying a team-high 26 points and 11 assists along with four rebounds. His four steals accounted for nearly a quarter of the Suns' 17 turnovers on the day.

Chris Paul struggles, fouls out early

Paul, meanwhile, was far from the form that helped the Suns cruise in Games 1 and 2 at home. He scored his first bucket with 6:19 remaining in the second quarter. In the final seconds of the half, he made a critical mistake that set the stage for his early exit. With five seconds remaining in the half, Paul drove to the bucket for a floater that bounced off the rim. He made contact with Doncic while attempting to corral the rebound, sending Doncic to the free-throw line with 1.1 seconds left in the half.

More importantly, he picked up his fourth foul on the play.

He didn't last long in the second half before his fifth foul with 9:32 left in the third quarter sent him to the bench. He didn't return to the game until the 10:28 mark of the fourth quarter. Thirty seconds later, his day was done, thanks to his sixth foul courtesy of a swipe at Jalen Brunson's arm while the Mavericks guard went up for an offensive rebound.

Paul left the game with five points, five rebounds and seven assists in 23 minutes of playing time.

Devin Booker attempted to pick up Paul's slack in the Suns backcourt. But his 35 points and 11 assists were no match for the Mavericks' shooting onslaught.

The series shifts back to Phoenix for Game 5 on Tuesday.

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) reacts to being issued a foul in the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, Sunday, May 8, 2022, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) reacts to being issued a foul in the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, Sunday, May 8, 2022, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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