Luka Doncic scored 35 points, Spencer Dinwiddie added 30 and the Dallas Mavericks stunned the top-seeded Phoenix Suns with a 123-90 Game 7 blowout on Sunday night, advancing to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2011.
Dallas broke through on the road after the home team won the first six games of the series, dominating from start to finish. Conversely, it was an embarrassing no-show for the Suns who advanced to the NBA finals last season with a very similar roster.
The fourth-seeded Mavericks travel to face Golden State in Game 1 on Wednesday.
Doncic earned the Mavs an early lead, making his first three shots, including two three-pointers. That helped Dallas push to a 27-17 advantage in the first quarter and a whopping 57-27 cushion at the halftime break. Doncic and Dinwiddie, who came off the bench, combined to pour in 48 of the Mavericks’ 57 points.
Game 7 drama? Not in the desert.
Simply put, the Suns looked overwhelmed by the pressure of a Game 7. They missed shots they usually make, made bad passes they usually don’t make and looked nothing like the team that won an NBA-best 64 games during the regular season. By halftime, many Suns fans were booing at the unsightly display.
The series might have been close but the individual games usually were not. Three of the first six games were decided by at least 20 points and none of the games came down to the final possession.
Game 7 followed a similar pattern, except the team doing all the damage was the road team. Doncic was fantastic, making shots from all over the floor and finishing 12 of 19 from the field, including 6 of 11 on three-pointers. He also got some help: Dinwiddie was fantastic in the first half with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 4 of 5 from three-point range.
Meanwhile, Phoenix’s All-Star backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker was never a factor. The 37-year-old Paul is a 12-time All-Star who has done just about everything possible in the game except win a championship.
After this setback, it’s fair to wonder if there will be many more opportunities. Booker finished with 11 points and shot 3 of 14. Paul had 10 points and four assists. The Suns shot just 37.9% from the field.
Dallas beat the odds with the win: After the Celtics defeated the Bucks earlier on Sunday, the home team was 110-33 (77%) in NBA Game 7s.
It’s the second straight year the Suns have lost a playoff series after having a 2-0 lead. They won the first two games against the Bucks in the NBA Finals last season before losing four straight games.
Milwaukee Bucks 81-109 Boston Celtics
Grant Williams scored a career-high 27 points and hit seven three-pointers, Jayson Tatum added 23 and the Boston Celtics set a Game 7 record with 22 three-pointers to eliminate the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks 109-81 on Sunday in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Boston will face top-seeded Miami beginning on Tuesday in a rematch of the 2020 East finals. The Heat beat the Celtics in six games in that series at Walt Disney World.
The Celtics trailed early but outscored the Bucks 61-38 in the second half to cruise to the victory. Boston used a whopping 54-point advantage from behind the arc to improve to 25-9 in decisive seventh games. The Bucks are now 3-9 in Games 7s. They went 4 for 33 (12.1%) from the three-point line. That’s the second-worst three-point percentage in a playoff game ever (minimum 30 attempts).
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists. But he was just 3 of 11 in the paint in the second half, including 1 for 6 the fourth quarter. Jrue Holiday added 21 points and eight assists. Brook Lopez finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.