NBA Playoffs: Suns burn the Mavs, Heat prove too hot to handle for Sixers
Phoenix, Arizona - The Phoenix Suns were at their offensive best during their 121-114 Game 1 win against the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
Led by center Deandre Ayton, who had 19 of his 25 points in the first half, the Suns scored 35 in the first quarter and 34 in the second to lead 69-56 at the long break.
The only thing keeping the Mavericks in the game was superstar Luka Dončić, who had 26 first-half points on his way to 45 on 15-of-30 shooting. He also grabbed 12 rebounds and dished eight assists.
Dallas' defense was much improved after half-time, but they struggled to cut into the lead as Devin Booker kept things ticking on his way to 23 points, with some cold shooting late bringing his figures to seven-of-20 from the field with nine rebounds and eight assists.
Cameron Johnson also chipped in with a play-off career-high 17 points off the bench in 24 productive minutes.
With a 16-point lead heading into the last frame, the Suns moved their perfect record to 51-0 this season when leading after three quarters. Only some too-little, too-late shooting from the Mavs cut the final margin to a respectable deficit.
Dallas will need much more out of guard Jalen Brunson on the attacking end to keep up with the powerful Suns offense as this series moves forward, finishing six-of-16 from the field for his 13 points, with eight of those points coming in the last quarter when the game was essentially decided.
Sixers feel the Heat in Miami
A dominant second half saw the Miami Heat pull away for a 106-92 Game 1 home victory against the Philadelphia 76ers.
It was a great start for the Heat, jumping out to a 25-11 lead, but a strong Philly fightback in the second quarter gave the road team a 51-50 advantage heading into half-time as James Harden put through his 12th point.
Harden would only score four points in the second half, which was indicative of how it went for the Sixers as the Heat raised their defense to another level in the third period.
Miami outscored the visitors 56-41 after half-time, as Tyler Herro led the way with 25 points off the bench on nine-of-17 shooting, adding seven assists.
It was also a strong scoring game for Bam Adebayo, who shot eight-for-10 for his 24 points, with 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a blocked shot.
Tobias Harris was the shining light for the 76ers, battling hard on both ends to finish with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting, and was a big reason for Jimmy Butler's poor performance, which saw the Heat star not play a minute in the fourth quarter.
Cover photo: Collage: USA TODAY Sports