Phoenix Suns brushed aside Dallas Mavericks 121-114 in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Monday, while Miami Heat beat Philadelphia 76ers 106-92 in the Eastern Conference semifinal for a 1-0 series lead.
The Suns jump-started with a 9-0 run and never trailed in the game. Backup center JaVale McGee stole the ball from Dallas star Luka Doncic early in the fourth quarter and dribbled all the way to the other end of the court to finish his solo play with a dunk, extending the lead to 21 points.
Center Ayton dominated the paint and mid-range as he shot 12 of 20 from the field, while Booker, who missed three games during Phoenix’s first-round win over the New Orleans Pelicans, added 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Chris Paul had 19 points.
Doncic led Dallas with 45 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Maxi Kleber went 5 from 6 from long range in the first half and scored 16 points before the break, but only added 3 points in the second half.
Elsewhere, the 76ers were without star player Joel Embiid, who is recovering from an orbital fracture and concussion, and fell to Eastern Conference top-seeded Heat.
Gabe Vincent opened up the game for the Heat, followed by a dunk from 76ers’ DeAndre Jordan. Miami’s 10-2 run with eight points from Tyler Herro give them the biggest 13-point lead over the 76ers of the half.
The 76ers came from behind with an 8-0 run by the end of the second quarter to enter the second half 51-50.
It didn’t take long for the Heat to regain momentum in the third quarter as they threw in 10-0 and 13-2 runs in the third and fourth to put the team ahead, and marked the biggest lead of 21 points to go into garbage time with four minutes and 40 seconds left.
Herro had 25 points and seven assists for the Heat, Bam Adebayo finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds, as Jimmy Butler added 15.
Tobias Harris scored 27 points for Philadelphia, while James Harden had 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists.