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Suns, Mavs Rival Heats Up in First Half

© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Nothing cures an NBA soul like a Phoenix SunsDallas Mavericks bout. With the Suns returning to full health, Thursday was set to be another headliner.

The Suns are still dealing with injuries as Devin Booker (groin) and Cameron Payne (foot) are out of action. While the Mavs did have that advantage at tipoff, it was short-lived.

Luka Dončić exited the game during the first quarter with an ankle injury. Without Doncic, Dallas is short on answers for scoring.

The Mavs took the opportunity to step up, leading 54-48 at halftime.

Cam Johnson Back At It

There’s little reason to believe that Johnson won’t have his minute restriction lifted in the near future.

Johnson has been nothing short of spectacular in his return, and that continued on Thursday. Through 16 minutes of play, the 26-year old put up 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Since his return, Johnson has allowed the Suns’ spacing to open up while drawing attention away from Deandre Ayton.

Ayton Having a Night

Ayton made sure to leave his mark on the first half as well. The seven-foot center was already up to nine rebounds in the first quarter. Ayton averages 10.4 rebounds on the season.

The former No.1 didn’t have his best scoring showcase in the first half. He scored 12 points, though it came on 4-of-12 shooting from the floor.

Mavs Making Things Interesting

With no Dončić or Christian Wood, things could’ve quickly went in a downward spiral for Dallas. The role players have been criticized heavily this season for the Mavericks, but they were on a mission in the first half.

Spencer Dinwiddie completely took over the second half, scoring 20 points for the half along with six assists.

Dorian Finney-Smith was up to 10 points and six rebounds.

Both teams were shooting relatively low from the field, leaving space for the Mavs to take the lead halfway through the second quarter.

With the Suns having more of its core available currently, they’ll have to figure out how to stop the Mavs’ runs in the second half.

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