The Dallas Mavericks on Sunday rained 20 three-pointers and again neutralized Phoenix point guard Chris Paul to beat the top-seeded Suns 111-101 and knot their NBA playoff series at two games each.
Star guard Luka Doncic scored 26 points and Dorian Finney-Smith added 24 for Dallas, who have won two games at home to level the best-of-seven Western Conference matchup after dropping the first two games in Phoenix.
The Suns, who finished the regular season with the best record in the league, will try to regain the advantage when they host game five today. It is guaranteed to shift back to Dallas for game six on Thursday.
The Philadelphia 76ers also won a second straight game at home to level their Eastern Conference series with Miami Heat at two-all.
Former NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden scored 31 points to lead six Philadelphia players in double figures in a 116-108 victory.
Center Joel Embiid, who missed the first two games with a concussion and facial fracture, scored 24 points, his presence again making things tougher for Miami defensively.
“The organization on offense, it helps a lot with him on the floor,” said Philadelphia’s Danny Green, who made three three-pointers on the way to 11 points. “Without him we look a little discombobulated.”
In Dallas, the Mavericks held off the Suns despite a poor shooting effort from Doncic, who connected on just nine of 25 shots and just one of 10 from three-point range.
Overall, the Mavs were on fire from beyond the arc, their eight three-pointers in the first quarter helping them build a 37-25 lead.
Their 14 three-pointers in the first half tied a franchise playoff record for three-pointers in a half.
They led 68-56 at the break and even more ominously for Phoenix, veteran point guard Paul committed his fourth foul trying to make a tip-in with 1.1 seconds left before halftime.
Paul picked up his fifth foul early in the third quarter and headed to the bench. He returned with 10:28 left in the fourth and promptly fouled out thanks to a hand to the arm of Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson.
After the game, Paul had more on his mind than the loss, as he voiced his frustration online about reports that his wife, Jada Paul, was pushed and his mother, Robin Paul, also touched by fans in Dallas.
“Wanna fine players for saying stuff to the fans but the fans can put they hands on our families ... fuck that,” Chris Paul wrote on Twitter.
ESPN reported that Chris Paul’s children saw the physical harassment that left the player’s family feeling “very unsafe.”
Paul himself could be seen talking to arena security personnel during the fourth quarter, and he asked to be excused early from a post-game news conference.
The Mavericks addressed the “unacceptable behavior” in a statement and said the fan had been ejected from the arena.
“The Dallas Mavericks are aware of an incident between a fan and the family of Chris Paul,” the team said. “It was unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated.”
When the teams played in Phoenix earlier, Doncic had to be held back from a fan who taunted him as he left the court.
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