Devin Booker NBA playoffs Suns

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after scoring against the Dallas Mavericks during the first half of Game One of the Western Conference Second Round NBA Playoffs at Footprint Center on May 02, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

Deandre Ayton scored a team-high 25 points and the Phoenix Suns dominated the visiting Dallas Mavericks on the boards en route to a 121-114 victory in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series Monday night.

Devin Booker contributed 23 points to a balanced attack, with nine rebounds and eight assists. Chris Paul had 19 points, Cam Johnson 17, Mikal Bridges 13 and Jae Crowder 11 as the top-seeded Suns held serve in a best-of-seven that continues Wednesday in Phoenix.

Luka Doncic finished with 45 points — one shy of his postseason career-high — for the Mavericks, who were outrebounded 51-36 and lost despite outscoring the host 48-33 on 3-pointers.

Coming off a hard-fought win over the New Orleans Pelicans in six games, the Suns wasted no time gaining the upper hand on the fourth-seeded Mavericks, scoring the game’s first nine points. Crowder contributed a 3-pointer to cap the run.

Phoenix went on to lead by as many as 15 later in the first quarter, 18 in the third period and 106-85 on a dunk by JaVale McGee with 8:48 remaining before coasting home.

With Ayton hitting 12 of his 20 shots, the Suns outshot the Mavericks 50.5 percent to 47.1 percent. Phoenix led the NBA with a 52.3 percent shooting percentage in the first round, while Dallas allowed just 44.3 percent shooting, third-best in the league, in its opening-round win over the Utah Jazz.

The Suns also helped themselves with 13 offensive rebounds and a perfect (18-for-18) at the free throw line, with Booker going 8-for-8.

Ayton picked up right where he left off in the first round, when he had four 20-plus-point games, with a high of 28. He and Crowder each had eight rebounds.

Doncic was the game’s leading rebounder with 12, completing his ninth double-double in 17 playoff games. He missed a fourth career postseason triple-double by two assists.

His 45 points gave him six 40-point playoff games. His postseason career-high of 46 came last year in Game 7 of Dallas’ opening-round loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Maxi Kleber chipped in with 19 points for Dallas, which also lost Game 1 in the Utah series before rallying to take four of the next five. Dorian Finney-Smith added 15 points and Jalen Brunson 13.


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