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What do you want me to even say about this? I mean OK here goes my attempt.
Words don't do justice to how thorough of an ass-kicking the Dallas Mavericks just dished out to the defending West champion Suns IN PHOENIX. Luka Doncic had to be special for Dallas to have a chance. He was. Just look at this shit from the first half alone:
Remember when Luka said this after Game 5's 110-80 loss? You know, the last time the Mavs were in Footprint Center?
Yeah how right did that end up being? Luka, you FUCKING LEGEND. Thirty-five points, 10 boards, four dimes and two steals in the biggest game of your life to date. That's nice.
So OK…Luka putting up a monster performance in a big spot? No shock there.
What you probably didn't see coming was Spencer Dinwiddie losing his fucking mind, and you'd be forgiven for that. Dinwiddie entered Sunday night with a 35.9% shooting clip in the 2022 playoffs. Dude went ballistic for 30 points on 11-of-15 shooting and five treys.
As much as Dinwiddie and Doncic dominated the Suns, it wasn't necessary for anyone else to step up. Didn't stop Jalen Brunson from shaking off a sluggish start to pour in 24 points of his own.
EVEN MORE IMPRESSIVE was the defense the Mavs played on Phoenix. Or was it simply a matter of the Suns choking? Had to be a strong blend of both for the score to be this damn lopsided in such a high-stakes showdown.
I'm glad to see Chris Paul go home early. CP3 straight turned into his "Cliff" alter ego who can't hoop a lick from those awkward-ass State Farm commercials.
And to Devin Booker, I say only this:
Bro. You CLOWNED yourself HARD when you tried to come after Luka.
Look, I'm not going to put it ALL on Booker here. He plays alongside Chris Paul, the bastion of leadership and all that is holy and great in the NBA about being a pro's pro. Except CP3 is low-key one of the dirtiest, gamesmanshippy players of his generation, will act like a total crybaby at the drop of a hat to get a whistle, and, even though I can respect his longevity and greatness, he is so damn hard to root for by the way he carries himself.
That may sound totally arbitrary and ridiculous, but if you know, you know.
BUT HEY, I will give credit where credit is due. The Suns backcourt showed some class in defeat instead of storming off the court in a tizzy:
I was pretty convinced Luka couldn't get this deep into the playoffs with this team, especially with a streaky, capable scorer in Tim Hardaway Jr. sidelined. I was wrong about that, and so glad to be. Luka is one of the most electrifying, exciting players to come along in a long time. If he gets any more help in the form of another true star player this summer, the Mavs will be surefire championship contenders for years to come.
Next up, though, is a date with the Golden State Warriors, who looked vulnerable against an inexperienced, undermanned Grizzlies squad. Given how strong Dallas' team defense is, how great Doncic has been playing and how various role players have stepped up throughout their run through the first two rounds, I refuse to count the Mavs out, even as they'll enter the Conference Finals as significant underdogs.
Luka Doncic is in the Conference Finals, folks. And no matter what happens from here on out, his legend has already grown. The legacies of Chris Paul and Devin Booker have been damaged. Oh, by the way, how suddenly-shut does the Suns' championship window seem after this?
Maybe that ill-fated Max Kellerman/Tom Brady "Cliff Theory" will be more apropos for Chris Paul than we could've ever known.