DALLAS ( Associated Press) —
Luka Doncic got his first win in an elimination game on Thursday.
The young Dallas superstar scored 33 points and the Mavericks crushed the Phoenix Suns 113-86 to force a Game 7 in the Western Conference semifinals.
The host team has won all six games in this series, none by a margin of less than seven points. The decisive duel will take place on Sunday in Phoenix.
The Mavericks won a game in which they were in danger of being eliminated for the first time, in three tries with their star Doncic.
Both losses came to the Los Angeles Clippers in the previous two seasons, including Game 7 in Los Angeles last year after the visitors had won the first six games, a first in the playoffs.
Dallas got past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since winning the title 11 years ago, with now coach Jason Kidd as the team’s point guard.
“I don’t know if he was playing like he was trying to do something different,” Kidd said. “I think he enjoys the moment. You guys have seen it a little closer than I have. He doesn’t have stage fright. I think they say it’s the first time he’s won an elimination game. He will be in situations like this for a long, long time.”
The Suns, seeking a second straight trip to the West finals, have gone as far as possible in a series for the first time in two postseasons with Chris Paul and Devin Booker in their ranks.
In their previous three series, the Suns have played six games, including last year’s Finals, in which they lost to Milwaukee.
Booker scored 19 points but missed all four of his 3-pointers. Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 11 rebounds and Paul added 13 points.
“I don’t have enough time to talk about everything that is consuming me,” said his manager, Monty Williams. “I think we did not understand the desperation with which they were going to play. That, added to the turnovers, is the recipe for what just happened.