Dominating Dallas: A look back at Suns current 8-game win streak over Mavericks

·9 min read

DALLAS – He tied what was then a career high that night in Phoenix.

Luka Doncic scored 42 points in leading the Mavericks past the Suns, 120-113, Nov. 29, 2019.

Doncic and the Mavs haven’t beaten the Suns since.

Phoenix (34-9) has won eight straight over Dallas (26-19) going into Thursday's matchup at American Airlines Center as they look to finish this five-game road trip unblemished.

This is the longest active win streak the Suns have over a single opponent. They’ve taken seven in a row over the Knicks.

"We've got a chance to turn a good trip into a great trip," Suns All-Star Chris Paul said. "We know this is a really good Dallas team who wants to beat us as bad as we want to beat them. We've got to be ready."

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) high fives head coach Monty Williams during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Phoenix. The Suns won 104-96.
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) high fives head coach Monty Williams during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Phoenix. The Suns won 104-96.

Deandre Ayton will miss Thursday's game with a right ankle sprain he suffered in the first quarter of Sunday's win in Detroit. The Suns starting big didn't play in Monday's victory at San Antonio. Phoenix is 12-3 without Ayton this season.

"He didn't do anything (on the court)," said Williams about Ayton after Wednesday's practice at the Mavs practice court. "Just some functional work off the court."

What's crazy about that is Phoenix's last loss to the Mavs came when Ayton, Doncic’s 2018 draft classmate, was serving a 25-game suspension after testing positive for a diuretic.

The Suns were 8-10 at the time in Williams’ first year in Phoenix.

Their two leading scorers that night were Kelly Oubre Jr. (22) and Ricky Rubio (21). Aron Baynes started at center.

Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic (77) is pressured by Phoenix Suns guard Ricky Rubio (11) in the second half on Nov. 29, 2019 in Phoenix, Ariz.
Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic (77) is pressured by Phoenix Suns guard Ricky Rubio (11) in the second half on Nov. 29, 2019 in Phoenix, Ariz.

All three are no longer on the team. Mikal Bridges wasn’t starting.

Tyler Johnson, who was just on a 10-day hardship exemption with the Spurs, played more minutes than a then-rookie Cam Johnson.

Finally, Devin Booker scored just 18 on 6-of-16 shooting that night.

The Suns are clearly not the same team that it was in the early stages of establishing a culture under Williams.

To put that time in perspective, the Suns have lost fewer times through 43 games this season than they did in their first 18 games in 2019-20. This run of wins over Dallas is in many ways a timeline for Phoenix going from being one of the NBA’s worst teams to arguably the best in the league right now.

Here's a recap of the 8-game winning streak:

1. Jan. 28, 2020: Suns 133, Mavs 104

Booker scored 20 of his game-high 32 points in the third quarter while Ayton posted a season-high 31, two shy of his career high, in the road victory.

Doncic finished with just 21 on 7-of-15 shooting.

This was right before the NBA All-Star reserve selections were announced.

Booker didn’t make it as a reserve, but he got in as an injury replacement for Damian Lillard to mark his first All-Star appearance. This was also two days after Booker’s basketball idol, Kobe Bryant, died in a helicopter crash.

The Suns outscored the Mavs, 48-22, in the third to mark the most points Dallas had given up in any quarter in franchise history. It was Phoenix's 20th win of the season to surpass the 19 total it won in 2018-19 in its second-worst year in franchise history.

Looking back: "It was very significant. That's the culture here. We had to start from somewhere To see where we are now in such a short amount of time, that came with the work. Continuous work and culture formed. That win was definitely a step forward in the right direction." – Devin Booker.

Aug 2, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) looks to drive against Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Aug 2, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) looks to drive against Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

2. Aug. 2, 2020: Suns 117, Mavs 115

This was in the Orlando Bubble as the league restarted the 2019-20 season after pausing it in March after Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The Suns opened their 8-0 bubble run by beating Washington before facing the Mavs.

They trailed by 11 in the third with Booker saddled with five fouls, but took a four-point lead into the fourth. Cam Johnson and Cameron Payne each hit two 3s in a 26-11 run to close the third.

Booker finished with 30 as Dallas lost despite Doncic going for 40 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds – and six turnovers – and Kristaps Porziņģis scoring 30.

The Suns' franchise player fouled out with 1:26 left in the game, but Dallas missed two 3s at the end in its 1-of-18 erosion from deep in the second half.

Aug 13, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams, second from right, and Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, second from left, kneel with players before the start of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 13, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams, second from right, and Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, second from left, kneel with players before the start of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

3. Aug. 13, 2020: Suns 128, Mavs 102

The Suns concluded their 8-0 bubble run as the only undefeated team in “seeding” games by beating the Mavs for a second time in the bubble.

Booker scored a game-high 27.

The Suns won all eight games without Oubre Jr., who was out with a knee injury. Oubre didn’t play another game for the Suns as he and Rubio were part of the Chris Paul trade.

Dario Saric scored 16 points, Johnson and Payne each chipped in 15 while Bridges, who had become a starter, added 14.

Phoenix hoped to advance to the play-in, but neither Memphis nor Portland lost their final game to open that door. However, the bubble experience set the tone for the following season that ended two wins shy of the Suns winning an NBA title.

The Mavs were already locked into the seventh seed to face the Clippers. So Doncic only played 13 minutes. He did score 18, but Porzingis sat out with a heel injury.

Looking back: "They were key for what we were trying to get better at. We were trying to be the best team we could be and play as hard as we can. We played them twice and they were great games. That just helped us gain our confidence and just sticking with it the whole time we were in the bubble." – Mikal Bridges.

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) congratulates guard Devin Booker (1) after a basket during the fourth quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix Dec. 23, 2020.
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) congratulates guard Devin Booker (1) after a basket during the fourth quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix Dec. 23, 2020.

4. Dec. 23, 2020: Suns 106, Mavs 102

The Suns opened the 2020-21 season, which began later than usual, with new additions in Jae Crowder, 10th overall pick Jalen Smith, and Paul.

Paul managed just eight points in his Suns debut, but two came on a patented fadeaway jumper to give Phoenix a 103-100 lead with 1:20 left in the fourth. Crowder scored only four, but grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and Smith had four points in his NBA debut. Booker led the Suns with 22 points and Bridges added 18.

The Suns opened the season without fans in the $230-million renovated arena amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as that decision was made before the preseason games.

Doncic scored 32, but he attempted 26 shots (made 11). He shot 0-of-6 from 3 as part of a 9-of-37 shooting night from deep for the Mavs.

This was the fourth game Phoenix played against Dallas in the 2020 calendar year.

Looking back: "It was nice to a first win with a new team. Anytime you change teams, you've got to build up equity. Like sweat equity. Guys have seen you hit big shots or clutch shots in the past. They don't care. They want to see it again when you're with that team. I just remember it was basically me starting all over again." – Chris Paul.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) tries to find an opening against Phoenix Suns forward Frank Kaminsky (8) and forward Mikal Bridges (25) during an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez).
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) tries to find an opening against Phoenix Suns forward Frank Kaminsky (8) and forward Mikal Bridges (25) during an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez).

5. Jan. 30, 2021: Suns 111, Mavs 105

The Suns beat Golden State to snap a three-game skid as Booker was out with a left hamstring strain.

They were 8-8 before that win. Their next game was in Dallas. Booker remained sidelined for this one.

Doncic delivered 29 points, eight rebounds, seven assists – and four turnovers – but the night belonged to Paul. Scoring 16 points in the fourth, Paul finished with 27 and 12 assists.

The Suns were down 15 in the second half as Dallas opened the third on a 12-0 run. Doncic scored 18 in the quarter on 7-of-10 shooting, but Phoenix closed the third on a 18-8 run to pull within five and set the stage to complete the comeback. With the game tied, the Suns went on a 9-0 run to go up, 105-96, with 65 seconds left.

Ayton powered up 18 points and 17 rebounds on a night he left the game and returned after a shoulder collision with James Johnson.

Looking back: "CP had a lot of plays down the stretch." – Cam Johnson.

Feb 1, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) hits the game-winning shot during the fourth quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 1, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) hits the game-winning shot during the fourth quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

6. Feb. 1, 2021: Suns 109, Mavs 108

Two nights later, the Suns played in Dallas again as the NBA scheduled back-to-back games against the same opponent in the same city to help travel during the pandemic.

The rematch proved to be even better.

Booker hit a game-winning 3 with 1.5 seconds to stun the Mavs in his return after missing four games with a hamstring strain. He scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half.

Doncic missed a 27-foot 3 at the buzzer on a 25-point night.

Paul followed up his 27-point effort two nights earlier with a season-high 34 to go along with nine rebounds and nine assists. His final dime was on Booker's game winner.

This was a sixth straight loss overall – and sixth straight to Phoenix – for Dallas.

The Suns lost two nights later in New Orleans to end a three-game road trip, but won 14 of their next 16.

Looking back: "Beautiful play Coach drew up." – Booker.

Nov 17, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne (15) brings up the ball against the Dallas Mavericks at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic
Nov 17, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne (15) brings up the ball against the Dallas Mavericks at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic

7. Nov. 17, 2021: Suns 105, Mavs 98

The Mavs now have a new coach in Jason Kidd after Rick Carlisle left to return to Indiana to coach the Pacers.

They were minus Doncic for the first game with Phoenix this season. He had left knee and ankle sprains.

Dallas played well without their All-NBA superstar.

Phoenix shot just 13-of-39 from deep, but still won as Booker led six players in double figures with 24. Ayton added 19 and 13 boards while Paul had 14 assists on a 2-of-12 shooting night (0-of-6 on 3s) at home.

This marked the 10th straight victory for Phoenix that grew to a franchise-best 18-game win streak.

No. 11 in a row came two nights later against Dallas.

Nov 19, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) rebounds the ball against the Dallas Mavericks in the second half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic
Nov 19, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) rebounds the ball against the Dallas Mavericks in the second half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic

8. Nov. 19, 2021: Suns 112, Mavs 104

Phoenix outscored Dallas, 33-20, in the fourth in winning an 11th straight game overall and eighth in a row over the Mavs.

Booker and Bridges each had 19 while Paul added 18 and 14 assists.

Down five going into the fourth, Phoenix opened on a 10-2 run to take an 89-86 lead.

Then up eight with 3:39 left, the Suns closed out Dallas with a 7-0 spurt with Ayton scoring four on dunks and Booker hitting a 3.

Six players reached double figures as JaVale McGee, one of Phoenix’s new additions, posted 14 points and six rebounds in 16 minutes.

Looking back: "It's a little bit of a playoff vibe. You can see adjustments that are made between the two games. So that's kind of fun in that regard." – Cam Johnson.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Dominating Dallas: Reliving Suns current 8-game win streak over Mavs