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'Luka Magic' proving to be enough to fuel the Mavericks' title quest

Jalyn Smoot

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Luka Dončić carries Mavs to first WCF appearance since 2011David Berding/Getty

Luka Dončić put on a clinic in the Game 7 blowout victory over the Phoenix Suns. Dončić erupted for 35 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in what ended up being a stress-free win for the Mavs.

Dončić came out the gates firing and seemed to have the hot hand from the offset. The Slovenian superstar lit up the scoreboard early, scoring 27 first-half points as the Mavs put the top-seeded Suns to shame on the road.

Dončić was 9 of 12 from the field in the first half and added nine rebounds and three assists. Astonishingly, his 27 first-half points matched the scoring total for the entire Suns team through two quarters.

"I am in shock," said TNT analyst and former Suns star Charles Barkley at halftime. "I never would have seen this coming. This is just embarrassing man ... In my wildest dreams, I never thought this would happen."

Barkley wasn't the only one lost for words by the dazzling performance by Dončić. As the game went on, it became clear that the Suns' defenders were just as perplexed by the stellar play of the Mavericks superstar.

Dončić wasn't just scoring in bunches, he was making it look easy. From the first whistle to the last, Dončić was in complete control.

Like most Mavs opponents, the Suns had no answer for Dončić. There wasn't a single player on the Phoenix roster that could slow him down.

In Game 7, with the lights on and pressure at its peak, 'Luka Magic' was on full display.

The former first-round pick flossed his teeth with the top-seeded Suns defense, torching them with a wide array of moves.

"I think tonight defensively we just never caught up with the ball," said Suns guard Chris Paul. "They were making tough shots. They were getting threes, getting layups..little bit of everything."

Paul, who has now lost an NBA record six-straight Game 7 exhibits, attributed the Suns' defeat to their subpar play on defense.

"We just never made the game competitive," Paul said.

Paul didn't say any names specifically, but it was clear that he and his team were flustered by the Dončić outburst.

To say that Dončić was dialed in would be an understatement. His 35 points in Sunday's win over Phoenix marked the fifth time that Dončić has scored 30+ points in a playoff elimination game.

In the Western Conference Semis, Luka averaged 32.6 PPG, 9.9 RPG, and 7 APG.

No matter who the Suns threw at him, Dončić simply couldn't be contained.

Now, with a trip to the Western Conference Finals secured, the Mavs hope that the 'Luka Magic' doesn't run out and that the surging superstar still has a few more tricks up his sleeve.

For the Mavs, the game plan is simple. Let Dončić cook.

This isn't to say that the Mavs are a one-man army, but it is clear that Dončić is and should be the engine of the offense. With Dončić leading the way, the Mavs have a shot to compete with the best the NBA has to offer.

In the Western Conference Finals, with former MVP Steph Curry awaiting, the Mavs will get a shot to prove it.

Since the No.1 and No.2 seeds have been eliminated, the Warriors will have home-court advantage to begin the series.

Game 1 is set to tip off at 6 p.m. PT at San Francisco’s Chase Center on Wednesday, May 18.

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I write about Dallas and Collin County sports, politics, interesting people, and environmental issues. I strive to shine a light on issues that are still in the dark and help to give a voice to the voiceless

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