The Phoenix Suns couldn’t stop the hot-shooting Mavericks all Sunday afternoon as Dallas evened up the Western Conference Semifinals after a 111-101 win.
Tensions were high from tipoff and both teams played physically, leading to early foul trouble for Chris Paul on the Suns and Luka Doncic for Dallas along with multiple technical fouls on both teams.
The Mavericks won the majority of the early calls and followed through with accurate shooting, putting the Suns in a 37-25 hole through 12 minutes.
Jae Crowder suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter but returned.
Hot-shooting from Dallas extended the deficit for Phoenix, who looked uncharacteristically frustrated and disorganized.
Multiple Mavericks players were lights out from long-range including Dorian Finney-Smith, Davis Bertans and Spencer Dinwiddie.
But Phoenix came back with a strong run spurred by Devin Booker and cut into Dallas' lead. However, the drive ended on a sour note as CP3 picked up his fourth foul in the waning seconds, allowing Doncic to add a pair of free throws and extend the lead to 68-56.
The Mavericks were 14-of-24 on three-pointers through the first half.
The two teams traded back and forth runs, but Doncic seemed to find the rim just as the Suns were on the cusp of trimming the lead to one possession.
Cam Johnson and JaVale McGee added some much-needed offense for the Suns with three starting players in deep foul trouble.
But Dallas pulled away with a 5-point run to end the quarter with an 87-78 lead.
Paul fouled out in the ninth minute after contributing just 5 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists during the chippy matchup.
Dallas quickly exploited the Suns' foul trouble and turnovers and fired with an easy mid-range jumper from Doncic and a pair of treys from Finney-Smith as American Airlines Center erupted in celebration.
In the end, Dallas wound the clock down to earn the win and even the series.
Booker led Phoenix with 35 points. While Doncic led Dallas with 26 and Finney-Smith had a career-high 24 points.
Dallas was 20-of-44 on 3-point shooting.
The series will head back to Phoenix for Game 5. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10.
The winner of this series will face either the Golden State Warriors or Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors lead that series 2-1.
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The city of Phoenix is home to five major professional sports league teams; The NFL's Arizona Cardinals, NBA's Phoenix Suns, WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks and NHL's Arizona Coyotes.
The Cardinals have made the State Farm Stadium in Glendale their home turf and the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix is home to both the Suns and the Mercury. The Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers also play at the Footprint. Phoenix has a soccer team with the USL's Phoenix Rising FC.
The Valley hosts multiple major sporting events on a yearly basis, including college football's Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl; the PGA Tour’s highest-attended event, the Waste Management Phoenix Open; NASCAR events each spring and fall; and Cactus League Spring Training.