By Alex Al-Kazzaz
At this point, there's absolutely no point in not giving the Dallas Mavericks any credit for their remarkable and shocking win over the Phoenix Suns in the Conference Semifinals. Make no mistake about it, the Mavericks didn't stun the Suns and the world. They SHOCKED everybody.
Stephen A. Smith had to take responsibility for underestimating the Mavericks. Not only did he admit that he was shocked, but he admitted that he's never been more wrong for highly doubting the team. Furthermore, he also apologized to the team. He really had no choice but to take responsibility especially since he predicted that Mavericks would get blown out by the Suns.
The Mavericks were not the favorites in the first round against the Utah Jazz, and they went on to win in six games. Luka Doncic wasn't available for the first three games, but the Mavericks still managed to amass a 2-1 series lead when Doncic returned to the lineup. After a frustrating loss in Game 4, Dallas took Game 5 with a 102-77 win and sealed the series in Game 6 with a 98-96 win.
The series between Dallas and Phoenix couldn't have been more interesting. Interestingly enough, the Suns swept the Mavericks in the regular season. Being the #1 seed, the Suns were the overwhelming favorites. Most even strongly insisted that Dallas would be swept. After the Suns took a 2-0 series lead with the first two games being in Phoenix, Doncic & company were under tremendous pressure with the next two games taking place in Dallas.
Dallas managed to tie the series in an impressive fashion, which suggested that Dallas had some hopes in the series. After Dallas suffered a 30-point loss in Game 5, the Mavericks returned the favor in Game 6 with a 113-86 win. It was clear that the Mavericks would not give up without a fight. Game 7 really speaks for itself. The Suns could have sealed it at home, but it was over at half-time with Dallas leading 57-27! After two quarters, Doncic scored the same amount of points as the entire Suns team in the first half. Immediately from the start, the Mavericks dominated and the Suns never had a chance.
For the Suns, this series was beyond atrocious. Especially games 6 and 7. This will haunt the Suns for a long time. From blowing a 2-0 series lead to being blown out in the final two games. The sad part is that this may have been Chris Paul's last shot at winning an NBA title.
For the Mavericks, Doncic has been absolutely outstanding. He's averaging 32 points per game in the playoffs. In the round against the Suns, he averaged 33 points per game in 36 minutes. Doncic is only the 2nd youngest player in playoff history to score 35 points and register 10 rebounds in a Game 7.
The Mavericks will take on the Golden State Warriors in the Conference Finals. The series begins on Monday with Games 1 and 2 taking place in San Francisco. Dallas has made a huge impact making it this far. Once again, the odds are NOT in Dallas's favor, but regardless, they need to make the most of it.