Suns return to form with rout of Mavericks in Game 5 to take 3-2 series lead
PHOENIX — NBA Coach of the Year Monty Williams was near halfcourt high-fiving his players as they walked to the bench during a timeout early in the second half.
That's the Phoenix Suns he recognizes: Devin Booker efficiently scoring and Deandre Ayton scoring in the paint.
Chris Paul dropping dimes and Phoenix playing more disciplined team defense.
Those Suns earned the overall top seed in the playoffs, took the first two games in this Western Conference semifinal and regained control of the best-of-seven series with Tuesday's dominant 110-80 Game 5 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Footprint Center.
Booker scored 28 points, hitting 3-of-7 from 3-point range, and Ayton added 20 points and nine rebounds before a sellout crowd of 17,071.
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The Suns will look to close out the series in Thursday's Game 6 in Dallas. If necessary, Game 7 is set for Sunday in Phoenix.
Luka Doncic paced the fourth-seeded Mavericks with 28 points.
The Suns opened the second half on a 19-4 eruption in building an 18-point lead as Booker and Ayton combined for 17 of those points.
Phoenix then closed the third on a 16-6 run. Cam Johnson capped it with a jam to give the Suns an 82-60 advantage.
The Suns scored 18 points off 12 Dallas turnovers in the third.
This after committing 17 turnovers in Games 3 4 in Dallas that led to 55 total points for the Mavs.
The Suns not only turned Dallas over, they limited the Mavs to 8-of-32 shooting from 3-point range. This is after Dallas shot 20-of-44 in Sunday's Game 4 win.
And Paul finished the night with 10 assists after averaging 5.5 in the first four games of this series.
The Suns erased an eight-point deficit to take a 49-46 lead at the break. Booker scored 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting at the half while Mikal Bridges added 10.
Doncic led the Mavericks with 18 points at the break.
Williams made a couple of moves a day after being named Coach of the Year that worked out for the Suns.
He played Landry Shamet instead of Cameron Payne, who scored two points total in Games 3 4 in Dallas on 1-of-9 shooting (0-for-4 from 3).
Payne usually plays backup point guard to Paul.
Williams instead kept Booker in the game to play the point, with Shamet playing off the ball, although Shamet did bring the ball up the court during the first half.
Williams also played Bismack Biyombo more than JaVale McGee in the first half.
Biyombo played eight minutes, while McGee only played three to open the second quarter after Biyombo saw action in the first for Ayton.
Follow Duane Rankin on Twitter @DuaneRankin.