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Luka Doncic just might be the best player left standing in the NBA postseason. The Dallas Mavericks star guard has vaulted his team into the Western Conference Finals, something that was a longshot as little as three days ago when the Mavs faced the daunting task of playing Game 7 on the road against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns.

Don’t tell Doncic it was daunting. The fourth-year guard exploded for 35 points in 30 minutes in a 123-90 Mavs win. That’s all the time he needed as the Mavericks embarrassed the Suns on their home court, eliminating them from the playoffs in the process. The abrupt end to the season had the Suns putting out a statement that sounded more like an apology.

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks showed no mercy on the Phoenix Suns

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball against the Phoenix Suns in Game 7 of the NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals at Footprint Center on May 15, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona. | Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

It’s one of the most shocking losses in playoff history for the Suns. It’s not that they lost, but it’s how they lost. The Suns scored 27 points in the first half and trailed by 30 points at halftime. Doncic had as many points at halftime as the entire Suns team.

“You can’t get this smile off my face right now,” Doncic said after the game, per ESPN. “I’m just really happy.

“Honestly, I think we deserve this. We’ve been playing hard the whole series. Maybe a couple of games here, we weren’t ourselves, but we came here with a statement in Game 7. We believed. Our locker room believed. Everybody believed. So I’m just happy.”

Doncic was dominant and determined. The Mavericks haven’t been this far in the postseason since their championship season in 2011. He and the Mavs ended all doubt by halftime.

“He’s the type of guy who wants to throw the knockout punch,” said Mavs sixth man Spencer Dinwiddie, who finished with 30 points. “So I give him credit for that. He’s never scared of the moment.”

Doncic refused to take full credit for the win.

“It’s not on me. It was the whole team today,” said Doncic. “Today was just incredible. I’ve never seen a performance on Game 7 like this. I can’t remember the last time that somebody went to the away game and did this, so I’m really proud of what we did today.”

Doncic forced the Suns into putting out a strange, unexpected statement


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Doncic is the real deal. He’s no phony off the court, either. After the game, a reporter asked him if he knew he had as many points as the Suns team at the break. While many NBA stars would likely say they weren’t aware of that or they were focused on the game, Doncic was honest.

“Yeah, of course,” he said while laughing.

While he and the Mavs were laughing, the Suns weren’t. Star guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul combined for 21 points. Nobody expected their season to be over Sunday. After the game, the team tweeted a statement that sounds more like it was apologizing to the fans.

“Today is a new day for Phoenix Suns fans. The work on next season is already underway.

“As employees, fans, partners, and PayPal Sixth Man Members of the Phoenix Suns, you should be proud of what you have helped this team and our organization accomplish. For three straight seasons, we have been raising the bar on expectations and accomplishments that wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible support from the best fans in the NBA, some of whom have been with us since the start in 1968.

“With greater success and expectation comes deeper disappointment. That’s natural. Just know that we all share in it, and our organization won’t be satisfied until we bring an NBA championship to the Valley.

“We’re in this together. We win together. We lose together. We fight together. And the only way we get better is together.

“Thank you for supporting us all season and as we look ahead to the start of a new chapter.”

It was a bizarre way to end the season for the Suns, both on and off the court.

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