Phoenix Suns: On Saturday, Devin Booker arrived at the Verizon 5G Performance Center for practice. The passion that echoed throughout the building struck him in the face. He claimed that everyone inside the team’s practice facilities was “locked in” from “top to bottom,” he claimed. Even the front desk staff looked carefully through the windows. According to coach Monty Williams, Phoenix also had an “intense” day of preparation for Game 7 on Sunday. Against the visiting Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference playoffs (8 ET, TNT).
“That’s how it should be,” Booker said. “There should be no other option.”
While the Suns accept and relish the added pressure that comes with Sunday’s difficult challenge, the Mavericks were more comfortable during their workout in Dallas. Even though home teams have won 76.8% of Game 7s in the past.
Dallas coach Jason Kidd said, “If you look at last year, the Mavs played in a Game 7 in the first round.” “So, you guys took part in it.” They are aware of the implications. So there’s no need to explain what Game 7 entails. There is no pressure, in my opinion. And, in my opinion, basketball is a game in which you must have fun. I believe the team closest to executing its game plan will win.”
The team plays on its home floor for the opening six games of this slugfest of a series. The turnover rates are also a reliable predictor of a team’s performance in this series.
The Suns committed 39 turnovers in their wins in Games 1, 2, and 5, which Dallas converted into 48 points. During games 3, 4, and 6, giveaways soared. The Mavericks scored 73 points off of 56 Suns turnovers throughout those games. Phoenix had 22 turnovers in Game 6, which led to 29 Dallas points, the most the Suns have ever given up in a postseason play.
“The talking points are the things we’ve got to do to be more efficient on both ends,” Williams said. “Offensively, we’re not a turnover team. So, we have to look at why we’ve had all those turnovers. Then defensively, just sticking with the game plan. Our game plan was one thing in Game 5 and something totally different in Game 6. Also, that’s something that we talk about doing what we do so. We can be effective on both ends. It was a lot of clean-up today and then just being in the gym. Moreover, it was a pretty high-energy, intense gym, and that’s something we all expected.”
And without any prior Game 7 experience, Booker enters Footprint Center on Sunday to face the Mavericks. Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, two other starters, are both inexperienced. At the same time, Chris Paul and Jae Crowder have a combined nine Game 7 appearances. However, Paul is 3-4 in Game 7s, while Crowder is 0-1 in them.
Chris Paul and Jae Crowder
“You know exactly what they’re trying to do when you play six games straight in a series,” Crowder said. “So it all boils down to the man in front of you.” However, you must also maintain emotional control.”
According to Booker, Crowder and Paul told the players as much on the plane trip home from the team’s Game 6 loss in Dallas.
“Our card table was just talking about Game 7s,” Booker explained. “You couldn’t tell me anything.” It’s either win or go home. That is something we all understand. Chris has probably been in six or seven. So they have the experience, but our staff as a whole is just waiting to get started. Today, we came in with a strategy. So, everyone is going home to think about it and be ready to put it into action tomorrow.”
It won’t be easy in Dallas. Luka Doncic, the standout point guard, has the second-highest career scoring average in postseason history, trailing only Michael Jordan (33.4). Doncic has also averaged 32.2 points in this series. Slowing down Doncic as a scorer is one thing, but the Slovenian has proven to be a pounding problem for the Suns. And as a facilitator who can pull clutch shots out of players. Jalen Brunson (22.8 ppg), Dorian Finney-Smith (12.2 ppg), Spencer Dinwiddie (11.8 ppg), Reggie Bullock (10.7 ppg), and Maxi Kleber lead the supporting cast (10.7 ppg).
Lastly, Dallas is shooting 37.5 percent from the 3-point range in the playoffs. In the playoffs, they averaged the most made 3-pointers per game (15.3). In the postseason, the Mavericks have only given 10.2 turnovers per game. It’s also the second-fewest of any playoff team, trailing only the Toronto Raptors (10.0).
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