The Dallas Mavericks beat the Phoenix Suns in Game 4, 111-101. The series is tied 2-2, and the next game will be played at the Footprint Center, with the momentum being on the Mavs side, as well as the belief they may have unlocked the secret to stopping Phoenix.
Limiting Chris Paul
The Suns are a deep team with players capable of heating up any moment, but they need veteran leader Chris Paul to play like themselves if they want to win the series. In the two games that the Suns lost, CP3 did not play to his usual standards, and numbers back that up.
In Game 3, Paul had 12 points, seven turnovers, and was -8. In Game 4, he only recorded five points and six fouls -- this was the fourth time in his playoff career that the 37-year-old fouled out.
Comparing both games that the Suns lost to Games 1 and 2, the difference is vast. In Game 1, Chris tallied 19 points and was +14; in Game 2, he scored 28 points and was +19. It’s clear that if Dallas wants to win this series, the key is to make things uncomfortable for CP3.
What are the options for the Suns?
The momentum has now shifted, but it's not the time for the Suns to push the panic button yet. So far, the teams have taken care of business on their home court, and as they say, it won’t be a series until the other team steals a win in their opponent’s arena.
Paul has been in the league long enough to know bad games happen, especially during the playoffs. Devin Booker, Cameron Payne, and Landry Shamet all stepped up big when CP3 was injured in the regular season. They all have to chip in collectively if the Mavs decide to shackle Chris once again in Game 5.
CP3 will bounce back from a bad game, and the Suns will rediscover what made them the best team in the regular season. Game 5 is crucial, and both teams know that. There’s a good chance whoever wins Game 5 will be the winner of this series.
Now that the Mavs know the Suns are beatable and their weakness has been exposed, they must brace for the adjustments coach Monty Williams is planning to implement next game.