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SUNS STIFLE MAVERICKS; TAKE 3-2 SERIES LEAD

OVERVIEW:

Returning to Phoenix with the series tied 2-2, the Suns needed to protect their homecourt advantage in a pivotal Game 5. For a team that has not lost three games in a row all season, the Suns were ready to hold the line and return to form.

The Suns got the effort they needed in their 110-80 win over Dallas at Footprint Center on Tuesday night and looked like the team that had the best regular-season record in the Association. Using a 33-14 third quarter, Phoenix obliterated the Mavericks in the second half, sending a resounding message as the series shifts back to Game 6 in Dallas on Thursday.

Facing a 26-23 deficit after the first quarter, the Suns found an offensive rhythm in the second, taking a 49-46 lead into halftime. It carried over into the third period, in which they exploded with an 18-0 run to take a 68-50 lead with 5:25 remaining.

Overall, the third quarter was absolutely dominant for the Suns. The stout defense forced 12 Dallas turnovers and turned them into 18 points, and led the Suns to outscore the Mavericks 16-4 in the paint.

The Suns continued to clamp the away team, holding the Mavericks to 20 points in the fourth quarter and only nine assists the entire game.

Overall, Phoenix was terrific in several facets. It outscored Dallas 44-24 in the paint, had a 28-11 assist-to-turnover mark and turned 16 turnovers into 11 fast break points. It also held the Mavericks to 27-of-71 shooting (38.0 percent).

The Suns were led by Devin Booker with 28 points, seven rebounds and two assists on 11-of-20 shooting. Deandre Ayton (20 points, nine rebounds), Mikal Bridges (14 points) and Cam Johnson (12 points) also finished in double figures in scoring.

Phoenix will look to close the semifinal series when Game 6 tips off Thursday at 6:30 p.m. MT in Dallas. The game will be televised by ESPN.

HIGHLIGHTS:

KEY PLAYERS:

Devin Booker: 28 points, 2 assists, 7 rebounds 

Deandre Ayton: 20 points, 9 rebounds 

Mikal Bridges: 14 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist

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