Luka Doncic needs the Dallas Mavericks to help him if they want to return to the series with Phoenix Suns | NBA News

Luka Doncic scored a combined 80 points in the Dallas Mavericks’ first two games against the Phoenix Suns, but his team isn’t exactly close to winning.

Doncic averages just one point for every minute he is on the pitch and he is of course the pivot of his team’s attack, facilitating as always for everyone else. The problem is that none of his teammates showed up to provide the support needed to trouble a Phoenix team that set the NBA’s best regular season record.

In fact, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd has admitted it after both games so far, and is hoping for better heading into Game 3, back at the American Airlines Center, live on Sky Sports Arena & Main Event at 2.30am late Friday night.

“He (Doncic) had a great game, but nobody else showed it,” Kidd said after a 129-109 loss in Game 2, looking pretty much like he did two nights earlier after a 121-114 series-opening loss at Phoenix. . “We can’t win with him alone scoring 30 goals a night.”

“We have to do a better job of helping him. They bring him into everything. We knew that going into the show. We knew that in the last show [against Utah]. We were better at protecting each other, not just Luka. We have to start protecting each other again for the third game at home.”

The Mavericks were close in the fourth quarter of Game 2 before Paul sparked a 23-2 run with the Suns leading by six. He had 14 of his 28 points in the fourth. Booker had 3 consecutive points during the race and scored 30.

“We’ve got guys who can definitely guard these guys,” said Dallas guard Reggie Bullock, one of the first defensemen given the task. “But it’s going to take a team effort to be able to contain them.”

Jalen Brunson averaged 27.8 points in the first-round win over Utah when Doncic missed the first three games with a sprained left calf. Brunson is averaging 11 points on 9 shots for 28 against the Suns and has almost as many fouls (eight) as he has field goals (nine). Spencer Dinwiddie, the centerpiece of the trade that saw Kristaps Porzingis leave Dallas, also disappointed in the first two games, connecting on just 6 of 18 shooting in the first two games of this series for just 19 points. The duo combined averaging 20.5 points in the Western Conference Semifinals after averaging 43.1 points in the first round.

In the Game 1 loss, Doncic burned the Suns to become the youngest player since Kobe Bryant in 2001 to rack up 45 points with at least 10 rebounds in a playoff outing. He led the team’s other four starters by six points. Then Doncic had 35 points in Game 2 with just two other Mavs – Bullock and Dinwiddie – joining him as double-digit scorers in the loss.

“The vibe is good,” said Doncic after his team slipped to a 2-0 hole on Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns, who earned their 11th straight win (regular season and playoffs) over the Mavs. “I think [for] many players [it’s] the first time in this situation. We believe, man. They must win four. So it’s not over yet. We have to go home. Our audience is amazing. So we’re going to believe in it until the end.”

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Highlights from Game 1 between the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Playoffs

By comparison, Phoenix’s top five finished Game 1 with at least 10 points. Four of the five starters accomplish the feat again in Game 2, punctuated by Devin Booker and Chris Paul’s combined 58 points, not to mention the team’s stunning 40-point fourth quarter. Booker ran the show in the third quarter of Game 2 before Paul took over in the final frame. For most of the game, the Suns ruthlessly chased Doncic, making sure to bring the Dallas playmaker into most of their offensive action.

Doncic, who scored 45 and 35 points in the first two games respectively, looked tired with the Suns repeatedly attacking him on the screens, especially in the fourth quarter when they shot 84%.

“He should be tired,” Kidd said. “He played with all his heart. He’s tired every night. He plays hard. We have to involve other guys to help him. Right now it’s just him.”

The Mavericks have an all-time 2-10 streak record going into a playoff series with an 0-2 deficit. Barring a rally and a resurgence, the season, which has shown great promise at times, could end soon if they can’t find a way to get better production from the supporting cast. of their superstar playmaker.

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Highlights from Game 2 between the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Playoffs

“We have to get other guys involved to help him out,” Kidd said. “Right now it’s just him. So we have to get Brunson and Spencer started and [Dorian Finney-Smith].”

Phoenix certainly doesn’t make that goal any easier with his size and stifling defense. Doncic is already working overtime to carry the charge offensively for Dallas. Then, when he’s on defense, the Suns continue to throw in a variety of Doncic-style looks to make him work harder.

The idea is to wear down the three-time All-Star guard, and the tactic seems to be working in the Suns’ favor.

“Well, he’s testing us,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. “He’s also trying to orchestrate on the attacking side. We’re just trying to win the game. We feel like we have guys who can be put in certain positions, but in what we’re doing. We don’t just want to shoot a guy in a pick-and-roll just to go iso with 18 seconds on the clock. We want to make the teams work over and over again. Over the course of the game, we think that serves us well. If we can strategically put the guys in a set so that we can be effective, we will.”

Suns @ Mavericks – live on Sky Sports Arena, 2.30am

Key notes: The Suns have shot at least 50% in all eight playoff games, with 64.5% in Game 2 against Dallas being the highest yet. Paul shoots 67% inside the 3-point line. The Mavericks’ defensive turnaround was one of the biggest stories of Kidd’s first season. They were second to Boston in fewest points allowed in the regular season and kept up the pace while beating the Jazz in six games. Not so much in this series.

Keep an eye on: Dallas guard Spencer Dinwiddie had some of his best games when Doncic was out during the regular season. His production is way off in the playoffs. There were signs of life in Game 2, when he scored 10 of his 11 points to help Dallas take a 60-58 halftime lead. But he only got one shot, and missed it, in the fourth quarter.

Injury Monitoring: Dallas F Maxi Kleber played 28 minutes and scored nine points in Game 2 after taking a bad fall to his back, shoulders and neck in Game 1 of the series. The Mavericks said he did well, but his effectiveness is worth watching after acknowledging he was sore.

The pressure is there: Mavericks GF Dorian Finney-Smith must avoid fouls. He is among the most important defenders and was limited to 20 minutes after committing three fouls in the first quarter.

Thanks to The Associated Press and NBA.com for contributing to this report.

The rush for live NBA playoff games continues on Sky Sports this week – see the list of games here and subscribe to watch the action live.

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