The Dallas Mavericks turned up the defensive pressure to score a critical Game 3 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.
Dallas, which trimmed the Suns' lead to 2-1 in the second-round playoff series, forced 17 turnovers, including 12 by the superstar backcourt tandem of Chris Paul and Devin Booker. It was a rare sight for a Phoenix squad that ranked fifth in turnover percentage this season.
"It wasn't like us," Booker told reporters. "You can credit them. They came out and played hard, played desperate. But that's that. We got a series."
Paul added: "They came out and did what they're supposed to do. We'll be back on Sunday."
The Mavs led by five at halftime, and any chance of a Suns comeback faded in a third quarter controlled by Dallas 31-23. Phoenix had six turnovers in the period, including four by Booker.
Every member of the Mavericks' starting lineup recorded at least one steal in Friday's contest, led by three apiece from Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith.
Mavs superstar Luka Doncic credited the home crowd for an assist on the defensive end.
"Energy, man," Doncic said. "The crowd gets you going. The energy and the execution were better. That's what we've got to do every game."
It was a much-needed turnaround at that end of the floor for the Western Conference's No. 4 seed, which allowed the top-seeded Suns to score 250 points over the first two games on the road.
Dallas must continue putting the clamps down on Phoenix's guards if it's going to have a chance to pull the upset in the series.
Game 4 is set for Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, and the Mavericks will once again have the home fans trying to provide that defensive boost.