Mavericks

Mavs Starters Play Limited Minutes in Loss As Suns Go 8-0 in Bubble

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NBC 5

The Phoenix Suns have done all they can.

Now, they must wait to see if their Disney-style fairytale continues.

Devin Booker scored 27 points and Phoenix rolled past the Dallas Mavericks 128-102 on Thursday to keep its playoff hopes alive and finish as the only unbeaten team in the seeding games.

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Dario Saric scored 16 points and Cameron Payne and Cameron Johnson each added 15 for the Suns. They will qualify for the play-in series that starts Saturday if Portland loses to Brooklyn later Thursday. If Portland wins, Phoenix's season is over.

"My thoughts are on that, but also, I'm just really grateful for the effort and the growth of this team," Suns coach Monty Williams said.

Memphis won its game against Milwaukee, making Phoenix's path more difficult. The games were played simultaneously, and Williams was paying attention to both.

"I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't looking," he said. "I'm not ashamed to tell you we've all been thinking about it. I just told them to focus on the game and here I am -- I probably looked at it right after I said it to them."

Booker has been a breakout star in the bubble. The guard has averaged 30.5 points while shooting 50%t from the field. He was more concerned about team goals after the game.

"We had one objective -- to get better -- and we did that," Booker said. "I think we approached this with the right mindset from the beginning, from practices, from training camp in Phoenix, from the first two weeks we got down here, everybody was locked in on all cylinders."

Dallas was already locked into a playoff matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers, so the starters played limited minutes. Luka Doncic, who had averaged 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11.3 assists in the bubble, finished with 18 points in just over 13 minutes. Boban Marjanovic, Dallas' 7-foot-4 reserve center, had 18 points and a career-high 20 rebounds.

The Mavericks still had hoped to perform better heading into the playoffs.

"Today was disappointing," Mavericks guard J.J. Barea said. "We didn't show up. Our goal was to make it to the playoffs. So we're here now and we've got to get ready for it."

Phoenix shot 66% in the first half to take a 76-57 lead. Booker scored 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting before the break. Their biggest lead was 28 points.

TIP-INS:

Mavericks: F/C Kristaps Porzingis sat out with a left heel injury. ... Marjanovic got his fifth start of the season. ... Seth Curry had missed three of the previous five games with right leg soreness. He finished with eight points in just over 20 minutes of action.

Suns: Beat the Mavericks 117-115 in the bubble on August 2. ... Shot at least 50 percent in each of the first three quarters. ... Committed just six turnovers. ... Ricky Rubio had 12 assists. ... Mikal Bridges scored 14 points.

SUNS DNA:

The Suns averaged 122 points in the eight games.

"You saw our DNA on display," Williams said. "That's who we are, from the first day of practice in training camp we've been playing that way. And we understood all along for us to win that's the way we'd have to play. I'm proud of the guys that have played that hard for us all season long."

QUOTABLE:

Suns G Jevon Carter on losses earlier in the season costing the Suns a chance to control their playoff chances: "There's no point. We lost games. Whatever happened back then there's no point talking about it now. We can't change the past."

UP NEXT:

Mavericks: Play the Los Angeles Clippers next week in the playoffs.

Suns: Either season over or will be in a play-in game against Memphis on Saturday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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