Suns’ 2-headed monster of Booker, Ayton dismantles Mavericks
If Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker are playing their best basketball as they did on Tuesday in Dallas, the Phoenix Suns are going to cause problems.
On top of that, the Mavericks weren’t ready to play, adding up to a 133-104 absolute mauling by the Suns.
In a first half where Dallas missed enough open three-pointers to where you might need more than two hands to count and a half where its defensive rotations were nearly non-existent, Phoenix still only managed to lead by five.
The lack of really jumping on a good team over those poor first 24 minutes did not wind up being a factor.
The Suns manhandled the Mavericks in the third quarter, scoring 48 points, the most in franchise history since 1990.
Most of that was through Booker and Ayton, who both dominated all night, a first for their young partnership.
Ayton went into the game with a clear gameplan of straying away from his mid-range jumper and keeping himself and his finishes as close to the basket as possible.
That is the version of Ayton that is impossible to guard.
He made 13 of his 15 shots for 31 points and nine rebounds.
After struggling with his shot early, Booker thrived off his big man getting to work, shredding the Mavericks to bits in the third quarter with 20 of his 32 points.
Booker added six rebounds, nine assists and two steals on 12-for-20 shooting.
Outscoring Dallas by a 26-point edge in the third quarter brought the lead all the way to 31 through three quarters. It would get as high as 38 before arriving at the final score.
For the first time this year, Monty Williams elected to start Mikal Bridges ahead of Dario Saric, which has been the five-man lineup he was using to close out games. With a scoreline like that, it obviously worked.
Bridges had 13 points, two rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block in 34 minutes while Williams used Saric as both the backup center and power forward. Saric had eight points, four rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in 22 minutes.
The biggest story off the bench was the play of rookie point guard Ty Jerome. The 22-year-old missed over a month at the start of the season due to an ankle injury, and after playing as the team’s backup point guard in his December return, was quickly moved back out of the rotation less than 10 games later.
After finding some of his stride in 10 minutes against Memphis on Sunday, he was inserted back into that reserve spot behind Ricky Rubio and responded well, recording 12 points, two rebounds, three assists and a block in 23 minutes.
Phoenix had 34 assists to only 11 turnovers, shot 42.9% (12-of-28) from three-point range and 59.3% overall. Dallas, on the other end, had 19 turnovers to 15 assists, shot 21.2% (7-for-33) from three-point range and 44.6% overall.
The win for the Suns puts them at 20, eclipsing their previous number for the 2018-19 season of 19.
The Suns get a few days after returning from a three-game road trip before facing the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday at 7 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.