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PHOENIX — It was a bad day for teams from the 2021 NBA Finals. And for fans of Game 7s.
The Dallas Mavericks were dominant from the opening tip for a wire-to-wire 123-90 win over the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals at Footprint Center on Sunday.
The Mavericks advanced to the West finals against the Golden State Warriors. Game 1 is 9 p.m. ET Wednesday in San Francisco.
Earlier Sunday, the Boston Celtics eliminated the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks with a 109-81 victory in the East semifinals.
The top-seeded Suns had the best regular season record and were early favorites for the 2022 NBA championship. They certainly didn’t look like that on Sunday.
The Suns shot a season-low 24.4% from the field in the first half for only 27 points at halftime. Meanwhile, Luka Doncic had 27 points of his own in the first half. The Mavericks held a 30-point lead at the break, the largest Game 7 halftime lead ever, according to ESPN Stats & Info. The Mavericks took a 42-point lead at the end of the third quarter, which was the Suns’ largest deficit all season.
Doncic finished with 35 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in three quarters of work. Doncic sat the entire final period. Spencer Dinwiddie poured in 30 points off the bench.
In the first half, Suns stars Devin Booker and Chris Paul combined to go 0-for-11 from the field for three points. Booker finished with 11 points, and Paul had 10. They sat for the final six minutes of the game as a “Let’s go Mavs” chant broke out in Phoenix. Both teams emptied their benches shortly after.
Paul has been a member of five teams that squandered 2-0 playoff series lead, including this one.
Phoenix shot 37.9% for the game, 35.3% from 3-point range.