Paul has another stellar 4th, Suns blow past Mavs
PHOENIX – The top-seeded Phoenix Suns were braced for another fourth-quarter playoff fight on Wednesday night.
Chris Paul turned it into an early knockout.
The 12-time All-Star scored 28 points, including 14 in another spectacular final period, to lead the Suns over the Dallas Mavericks 129-109 for a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.
Paul, who turns 37 on Friday, almost single-handedly turned a tight game into a comfortable victory — the Suns’ 11th win in a row against the Mavericks counting regular-season games.
“You’ve just got to lean on the work,” Paul said. “It all goes back to the work. You can’t cheat the game. You’ve got to do the strength and conditioning, you’ve got to lift, you’ve got to get your rest, you got to get your shots up.
“When you do that, you live with the results.”
Suns guard Devin Booker said he’s run out of ways to describe Paul’s fourth-quarter heroics.
“You guys tell me, you’re watching the same thing,” Booker said. “It impresses us every time we see it, but it doesn’t surprise us. It’s just the will to win.”
The Mavs led 60-58 at halftime but the Suns quickly recaptured the lead after Booker hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the third. The Suns took an 89-83 advantage going into the final quarter and it looked like a tough fight was coming.
But that’s about the time Paul decided the game was his to control, hitting six shots in a row on everything from 3-pointers to mid-range jumpers to layups. The feisty Mavericks finally didn’t have an answer. Booker hit a pair of 3-pointers midway through the fourth to give the Suns a 114-95 lead. /