One of the most anticipated matchups of the NBA postseason’s second round, pitting Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Mikal Bridges against perennial MVP candidate Luka Doncic, was a mismatch in the Dallas Mavericks‘ favor during Monday’s Game 1. But it didn’t matter.
Doncic scorched the top-seeded Phoenix Suns for 45 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in the series opener, yet the Mavs fell behind in the Western Conference semifinals with a 121-114 loss at Footprint Center.
The Suns rarely sent an extra defender at Doncic to try to force the ball out of his hands. He did plenty of damage — making 15 of 30 shots from the floor, including eight layups and two dunks — but Phoenix prevented the Mavs’ other playmakers from getting into a rhythm. The rest of the Mavs’ starters combined for only 39 points, the second time in Doncic’s 17 career playoff games that he scored more points than the other four players in Dallas’ starting lineup.