The Dallas Mavericks continue their playoff run

Cade Harris, Staff Writer

Playoff basketball is in full swing in Dallas. The Dallas Mavericks continue their playoff run against the Phoenix Suns after defeating the Utah Jazz in round 1.

Coming into the playoffs, a major storyline centered around the injury of Mavericks star player, Luka Dončić. Dončić strained his left calf in the final regular season game against the San Antonio Spurs. The Mavericks would have to play without Dončić for the first three games of the first round.

The Phoenix Suns defeated the New Orleans Pelicans in their first-round matchup 4-2. The Suns finished the season as the number one seed in the Western Conference and with the best record in the NBA at 64-18.

The Mavericks lost all three regular season games against the Suns this season.

Game 1 was not the best showing for the Mavericks as they never had the lead and lost 121-114. Although the Mavericks as a team did not have their best game, Dončić had 45 points.

Game 2 started out as a close game as the Mavericks led by two at the half but behind a strong second half the Suns were able to win 129-109. Another strong game by Dončić, scoring 35 points, but not enough to take down the first seed in the Western Conference on the road.

After coming home from two losses in Phoenix, Game 3 felt like a must win since no team has ever come back to win a series down 3-0. The Mavericks were able to beat the Suns at home 103-94. Dončić had 26 points and Jalen Brunson had a team high 28 points in the win.

Playoff basketball on Mother’s Day has historically been kind for the Mavericks and it stayed that way in Game 4 as they pulled out the 111-101 victory to even the series. Dončić once again scored 26 points and Dorian Finney-Smith scored 24 points.

Chris Paul finished the game with only five points for the Suns after fouling out with 8:58 left in the 4th quarter.

At press time, the Mavericks are 2-2 in their series against the Suns and are set to play Game 5 in Phoenix May 10.

The Mavericks came into the playoffs as the number 4 seed and the Jazz came in as the number 5 seed. Both teams faced each other four times during the regular season with each team winning two.

Game 1 in Dallas without their star player was tough for the Mavericks. The Jazz won the game 99-93 behind 32 points from their star player, Donovan Mitchell. Brunson led the Mavericks in points with 24.

The Mavericks knew if they were going to have a chance to win the series, they were likely going to have to win Game 2 at home. They proved that they could win a game without Dončić as they won 110-104 with a breakout performance by Brunson, scoring 41 points.

The Mavericks were tied with the Jazz with a game apiece going into Utah, regarded as one of the more difficult places to play in the NBA.

“We understand what’s in front of us,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said after game two. “It’s going to be a hostile environment.”

Dončić was out for Game 3 but once again it did not matter as the Mavericks were able to win a tight game on the road 126-118. Brunson had another outstanding game as he dropped 31 points. The Mavericks bench also played a big factor, scoring 49 points.

With Dončić set to come back for Game 4, the Mavericks were sitting in the driver’s seat and advancing to the next round seemed inevitable. That was until the Jazz were able to steal Game 4, 100-99. In Game 4,

The Mavericks led by four points with 39 seconds left after Dončić drilled a step back three. After the Mavericks missed a couple free throws, the Jazz were able to get an alleyoop from Mitchell to Rudy Gobert to give them the lead. The Mavericks were unable to score on their final possession of the game. Dončić scored 30 points in his first game back.

After the disappointing loss in Game 4, the next game seemed like a must-win for the Mavericks knowing they would be going back to Utah for Game 6. The Mavericks destroyed the Jazz in Game 5 at home by a score of 102-77. Dončić scored 33 points and Brunson scored 24 points.

Going into Game 6 all the pressure was on Utah knowing they were eliminated with a loss. The game stayed tight the entire way with no team being able to pull away for a substantial lead.

The Mavericks led 98-96 with four seconds left after Brunson made one of two free throws. The Jazz called a timeout after the free throws and advanced the ball to half court.

Royce O’Neale inbounded the ball to Bojan Bogdanovic who took a wide open three but missed and the Mavericks were able to hold on for a 98-96 victory. Bogdanovic shot 33% from three in the series.

The victory clinched the series for the Mavericks as they advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals to face the Phoenix Suns.

This was the first playoff series victory in the young career for Dončić.