Suns open season with narrow win over Mavericks
Devin Booker scored 22 points and Mikal Bridges added 18 to help the Phoenix Suns post a 106-102 victory over the visiting Dallas Mavericks in the season opener for both teams on Wednesday night.
Cameron Johnson scored 15 points and Deandre Ayton added 13 for the Suns. Chris Paul had just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes in his Phoenix debut after being acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the offseason.
Luka Doncic recorded 32 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Mavericks. Jalen Brunson, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Josh Richardson added 12 points apiece for Dallas.
The Mavericks were without Kristaps Porzingis (knee), who will miss the early part portion of the season.
Booker split two free throws with 1:44 to play to put the Suns ahead to stay. Paul added a jumper 24 seconds later to make it 103-100, and Booker drained an 18-footer with 40.2 seconds left to make it a five-point margin as Phoenix closed it out.
Langston Galloway and Cameron Payne each scored 11 points for Phoenix, which shot 48.1 percent from the field and was 11 of 30 from 3-point range.
Dorian-Finney Smith had 11 points and Maxi Kleber had 10 for Dallas, which shot 42.4 percent from the field and was 9 of 37 from behind the arc. Doncic was 11-of-26 shooting and missed all six of his 3-point attempts.
The Suns led by 12 early in the fourth quarter after Johnson’s basket, but Dallas whittled away and moved within 91-90 on Brunson’s layup with 5:29 left.
Phoenix’s Jae Crowder answered with a 3-pointer, but the Mavericks kept the momentum and knotted the score at 96 on Willie Cauley-Stein’s dunk with 3:38 left.
Ayton and Paul each made two free throws as the Suns took a four-point lead, before Doncic scored four in a row to tie it at 100 with 1:56 remaining.
Bridges scored 15 points and Booker added 13 as Phoenix led 53-45 at the break. Doncic had 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting.
Doncic missed his first six shots and finally scored when he converted a three-point play with 3:19 left in the first quarter.
The Mavericks started the third quarter strong and inched ahead at 62-61 on two free throws by Doncic with 5:53 left in the stanza.
Phoenix moved back ahead, and Payne’s 3-pointer with 30.8 seconds left give the club a 77-71 lead entering the fourth quarter.
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