For the third time in nine days, the Phoenix Suns used a gigantic turnaround to win a game.
This time, they didn’t wait until the final frame.
A massive flipping of the script across a 60-24 run in 16:56 went from the Dallas Mavericks up 14 in the first half to the Suns leading by 22 with one quarter to go in a 132-109 win on Wednesday.
From the mid-second quarter to a few minutes into the second half, Phoenix broke the game open with a 25-4 spurt. Josh Okogie responded to a poor first shift with some physical defense on Luka Doncic that revived the team’s intensity. The Big 3 were a large part of that, and you can mark this one down as another really good defensive outing from Kevin Durant. Bradley Beal was engaged, as was Devin Booker. When those three approach defense the way they did across that run, this is the best team in the league.
The off-kilter effect this had on Dallas (24-20) disrupted its offense enough to free up some pressure on Phoenix’s own offense. The relief it brought to the Suns’ process was clear to see, allowing them to play off misses more frequently. Crucially, the Big 3 all night were seeking out their shot, staying aggressive individually. It’s an unselfish trio that wants to play basketball the right way, which is when it is also the most fun, but balancing that with punishing defenses when there are chances to is key.
Phoenix (26-18) had issues in transition and with 50-50 balls but because it reached 18 free-throw attempts in the first half alone, that was enough of a buffer to make up for Dallas’ hot shooting start of seven 3s in the opening quarter. The Suns were up seven at that point in the early third quarter before the run continued, expanding to 38-9 and placing them ahead by 15 with 6:30 to go in the third quarter.
It kept going thanks primarily to Booker, who contributed 22 of his 46 points in the third quarter. By that time, the air had been completely sucked out of the building and the Suns were bouncing with swagger off accomplishing that. They shot 18-of-22 (81.8%) for the period.
Perhaps the most encouraging development in all of this for the Suns was that Wednesday was quite chippy in the earlygoing. A few technical fouls were tossed out at different instances and Dallas’ Grant Williams was ejected in the third quarter. The billing for “rivalry week” was met. There is some obvious not so much disrespect between these two groups but a dislike of sorts. And the Suns were the team to embrace it in a way to dominate from there on out.
Booker shot 17-for-23 and added seven rebounds. That’s now the fourth straight game the Suns have had someone reach 40 points.
Durant provided 12 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, a steal and two blocks.
Beal contributed an underrated 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. He’s been very good as a complementary star to the Booker and Durant pair the last two weeks.
Doncic was the only Dallas starter in double figures with 34 points, eight rebounds, nine assists, a steal, two blocks and five turnovers.
Kyrie Irving (right thumb sprain) and Dwight Powell (left eye corneal abrasion) were out for Dallas while Phoenix missed Eric Gordon (right wrist soreness) for the second straight game.
It’s now seven consecutive Suns wins and a 12-3 mark since the Christmas loss to Dallas.