Devin Booker Drops 28 as Suns Rally in 4th Quarter to Top Luka Doncic, Mavs

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 21, 2022

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) moves the ball upcourt against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP Photo/Eric Gay

Luka Doncic and Devin Booker traded blows Thursday evening. The Phoenix Suns were the team left standing. 

Booker had 28 for the Suns in a 109-101 win over the Mavericks. Doncic did his part to keep Dallas in the contest, with 28 points of his own in a tight contest between two of the hottest teams in the NBA.

Despite playing the second half of a back-to-back—Doncic put up 41 on the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night—the Mavericks will feel they let one slip away. They held a 12-point lead early in the third quarter and started the fourth up eight points, only to watch the Suns outscore them 35-19 in the final frame.

Chris Paul provided the dagger:


CP3 🥶 <a href="https://t.co/ukJlDIt0eR">pic.twitter.com/ukJlDIt0eR</a>

No lead is safe against Booker and these Suns. It's been that sort of season for the 35-9 title contenders, who moved three games above the Golden State Warriors atop the Western Conference standings.

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon

Mavs lose for only the second time this month, putting up a heck of a fight against the NBA-best Suns on the butt end of a back-to-back. <br><br>Chris Paul’s squad is 15-3 in clutch games — within 5 in final 5 minutes — and +58 in 62 minutes in those situations.

The loss dropped Dallas to 26-20 on the season, though it remains fifth in the Western Conference.

Key Stats 

Devin Booker, PHX: 28 points, six assists, five rebounds

Chris Paul, PHX: 20 points, 11 assists, five rebounds

Jae Crowder, PHX: 13 points, two steals

Luka Doncic, DAL: 28 points, eight assists, eight rebounds, eight turnovers

Jalen Brunson, DAL: 19 points, 

Kristaps Porzingis, DAL: 18 points, 11 rebounds

Doncic vs. Booker Was Fun

Doncic would throw some proverbial punches:


Luka Doncic 🤝 No look dimes<br><br>Watch the <a href="https://twitter.com/dallasmavs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dallasmavs</a> live on TNT! <a href="https://t.co/igkKoVrB0S">pic.twitter.com/igkKoVrB0S</a>


Luka Doncic (19 PTS) gets the steal and then drains the three to beat the halftime buzzer!<br><br>HALFTIME on TNT! <a href="https://t.co/z7RnkZLiGN">pic.twitter.com/z7RnkZLiGN</a>


Luka going to WORK in the low post 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/b9stsacEkh">pic.twitter.com/b9stsacEkh</a>

Booker would counter:

Phoenix Suns @Suns

🗣 AND-ONE <a href="https://twitter.com/DevinBook?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DevinBook</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> <a href="https://t.co/6mOZVAFCvM">pic.twitter.com/6mOZVAFCvM</a>

Phoenix Suns @Suns

Full send Book. <a href="https://twitter.com/DevinBook?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DevinBook</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> <a href="https://t.co/yKMyCcyMtb">pic.twitter.com/yKMyCcyMtb</a>

Phoenix Suns @Suns

.<a href="https://twitter.com/DevinBook?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DevinBook</a> goin' all the way. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> <a href="https://t.co/HiLXKtzrhh">pic.twitter.com/HiLXKtzrhh</a>

NBA fans profited.

When you get two of the NBA's purest scorers together, the result is almost always must-watch TV. Thursday was no exception.

Brunson Was Excellent In a Losing Effort

When Doncic was on the bench early in the fourth quarter, dealing with what looked like a neck injury, the Mavericks needed someone to step up. Brunson answered the call. 

The veteran point guard has become a key player for the Mavs, taking some of the playmaking burden off Doncic while providing the team with savvy and toughness in spades. 

Mo Dakhil @MoDakhil_NBA

Brunson continued to cook, he is just getting into the lane at will and took CP into the post. <a href="https://t.co/jTimLLJlgC">pic.twitter.com/jTimLLJlgC</a>

Brad Townsend @townbrad

Brunson running the point essentially allows Doncic to play shooting guard, small forward and power forward, depending on the possession. Makes him even more of a load to guard.

Jeff Cavanaugh @JC1053

Love me some Brunson. Small man bully.

Dorothy J. Gentry @DorothyJGentry

Jalen Brunson is what you call “tough.”

The questions about Dallas' upside almost always revolve around Doncic's supporting cast. Brunson, at least, did his part against the Suns.

What's Next?

The Mavericks get two days off before hosting the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Suns will host the Indiana Pacers on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.