Luka Doncic had a monster stat-line again after Game 2 against the Phoenix Suns in their second-round matchup. Doncic had an efficient 35-points, but most of his work came in the first half. Doncic struggled to get his shot off in the second half as the Mavericks' offense ground to a halt and the Suns got hot.
Doncic also was being exploited as a defensive matchup in the fourth, having a hard time guarding Chris Paul who went nuclear. Game 1 was a near blowout until a late fourth-quarter surge by the Mavs and now Game 2 was a dominant Suns win, not painting a pretty picture for Dallas in this series.
However, Luka feels confident in the Mavs' ability to come back, reiterating that the series is won after four games and not two. This is a lesson he is intimately familiar with after the Mavericks blew a 2-0 series lead in the 2021 Playoffs to the LA Clippers.
The obstacles in place for the Mavericks to make a comeback in this series may be a little too high to climb. They are outmatched in almost every position except the one that Luka plays. Even there, he has to go up against Chris Paul who is more than capable of out-performing him, as he did in the fourth quarter.
The Suns play scrappy team defense like the Mavericks, but they have a deeper rotation and more continuity with each other than the Dallas players do, considering this core Suns team went to the NBA Finals last season and led the league this season.
Doncic is a wild card in terms of his ability to make a team win on his own. However, even an average of 40 points through the first two games hasn't made them look like real contenders. This series needs to swing in Dallas in Game 3, otherwise it is definitely over.