Chris Paul has racked up many points and assists during his 17 seasons in the NBA.
However, he was not part of too many 11-game winning streaks. After the Phoenix Suns brushed off the Dallas Mavericks for a 112-104 win on Friday night in front of a sold-out crowd, he knew these three weeks were something special.
“Guys don’t take this for granted,” Paul said. “The locker room is great. Sometimes you can win games and it feels like you lost in the locker room. But the locker room is great and the spirit is good.”
Mikal Bridges and Devin Booker each scored 19 points and Paul added 18 points and 14 assists. The winning streak is the Suns’ longest since the 2006-07 season — and the latest win followed a familiar pattern. Phoenix was just so-so for the first three quarters before playing his best basketball in the final 12 minutes.
“We were able to hold out just a little longer than them,” said Suns coach Monty Williams. “It allowed us to have a blowout in that fourth quarter.”
After the Mavericks took an 84-79 lead in the fourth quarter, the Suns used a 10-2 run to advance 89-86 with 8:55 to go. Phoenix continued to roll from there: Landry Shamet hit Jae Crowder for a quick 3-pointer for a 94-86 advantage and Booker hit a corner 3 for a 103-90 lead with 4:12 left.
“The whole fourth quarter was a lot of fun,” Booker said.
Phoenix struggled with turnovers at times, but made up for it with 14-for-29 shooting from a 3-point range. Bridges was 7 of 7 from the field, 3 of 3 on 3s.
Dallas has lost to the Suns eight times in a row. Kristaps Porzingis led the Mavs with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. each had 18 points.
Dallas coach Jason Kidd said his team just didn’t get enough shots to beat one of the NBA’s best teams.
“If we trust that we have to make the 3, we have to make them,” Kidd said. “We had a lot of open cans that didn’t go down. We need to get better at that. Before them, they had a lot of open cans that went down.
“You can’t beat good teams if you play like that.”
The teams played each other for the second time in three nights. The Suns won 105-98 on Wednesday evening. Again, the Mavericks put up a good fight without injured star guard Luka Doncic, but were overpowered by the Suns in the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t play our best basketball on either side, starting with our attack,” Porzingis said.
Phoenix took a 55-51 lead at halftime. Bridges led all scorers by 17 points and made all six shots. Paul added 10 points and four assists. Porzingis led the Mavs by 12 points before halftime.
Doncic (left knee and ankle sprains) missed his second game in a row, but got some practice with the team on the road trip – including Friday’s pregame warmups. Kidd said he is hopeful the star guard can play against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
Mavericks: F/C Maxi Kleber (left oblique trunk) missed a second consecutive game. Doncic averages 24.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.9 assists. … C Willie Cauley-Stein hit his sixth career three-pointer during the third quarter, which received much cheer from the Dallas bench. Cauley-Stein is now 6 out of 32 past the arc in his seven-year career.
Suns: F/C Frank Kaminsky (right knee pain) missed his second game in a row. …JaVale McGee had 14 points off the bench on 7-of-10 shooting. Cam Johnson added 13 points and made three three-pointers. … F Ish Wainwright made his career debut, playing in the last minute of the fourth quarter.
Mavericks: Los Angeles Clippers Sunday.
Suns: Host Denver on Sunday nights.