Phoenix Suns look to end chippy series vs. Dallas Mavericks in Game 6
DALLAS – Phoenix’s last trip to Dallas was a disaster on multiple levels.
The Suns not only dropped Game 3 and Game 4, but Chris Paul’s mom and wife were harassed during Sunday’s loss on Mother’s Day that evened the series.
They’re now back after taking Tuesday’s Game 5 in Phoenix by 30 points and looking to leave Dallas this time with a win in Thursday’s Game 6 to advance to the Western Conference finals.
“The first quarters have been huge for us, especially from the defensive side of the ball,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “If we can keep them out of transition and not give them extra possessions early, I think it sets the tone for the game for us. You can sit here and say, ‘get off to a good start,’ but what does that look like? Efficient offense, not turning it over and making sure they only get one shot. To start the game that way would be huge for us.”
As for the crowd, Williams isn’t expecting a repeat of Game 4 as two fans were banned from returning to American Airlines Center until 2023 after the incident with Paul's family.
“I’ve heard that Dallas and the arena have handled whatever they needed to handle,” Williams said. “I’ve been pretty adamant about the fans here have never been like that. I’ve been coming here now almost 30 years. I’ve never experienced anything like that. You may hear a smart comment, but what happened the other day, I don’t suspect that will happen again. The people here have always been pretty respectful. They cheer for their team. So I’m sure that won’t happen tomorrow.”
The fourth-seeded Mavericks expect their fans to show up and show out Thursday as they face elimination for the first time in this year’s playoffs.
“We’ve got to go back home and play the same way we played at home,” Mavs All-Star point guard Luka Doncic said after Game 5. “I know our fans are going to be amazing.”
Doncic has given the top-seeded Suns extra motivation for Game 6 after being captured on video walking off the court saying “everybody acts tough when they up” while heading to the visiting locker room following Tuesday’s Game 5 at Footprint Center.
“Get ready for the next game,” Suns wing Mikal Bridges said when asked about Donci's comments. “We’re going to be ready. I just know we are.”
The best-of-7 conference semifinal series has definitely reached a chippy state with the latest on-court evidence being Mavs backup big Marquese Chriss taking a hard foul Suns backup big Bismack Biyombo, who was going up for a dunk with 2.3 seconds left in Game 5.
“When we played here (in Dallas), they played all the way to the end and I think that’s what they were trying to do,” Biyombo said after Wednesday's practice in Dallas. “And that’s understandable. It’s the playoffs. So I tried to do the same thing.”
Biyombo was walking away from Chriss, but suddenly turned around after Chriss said something to him that he declined to reveal.
“I just had to step back and ask him a question, why would he say something like that,” Biyombo continued.
Biyombo and Chriss exchanged words, both were ejected from the game, but Chriss ended up running through the Suns tunnel trying to get at Biyombo.
“I didn’t know until I heard our security screaming and yelling,” Biyombo said. “I said, ‘oh man,' but then I realized there’s cameras in the back and there’s not a need to, but again, look, it’s basketball. I’d rather talk about the game (Thursday) than waste my energy on things that are nonsense.”
The Suns are expected to have starting forward Jae Crowder for Game 6.
The veteran forward isn’t listed on the team’s injury report after appearing to injure his left shoulder from a collision with Mavs guard Josh Green as the two were going for a loose ball in the fourth quarter.
“He’s built like a football player,” Bridges said. “Those guys, they’re the ones that mess up their knees and be back in three months stronger and faster. They are built different. Jae’s a football guy for sure.”
Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at email@example.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.
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