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The Phoenix Suns should feel sick to their stomach seeing Golden State being a win away from reaching the NBA Finals.
The Suns took two from the Warriors in the regular season and would’ve had homecourt advantage had they met in the Western Conference finals.
The No. 1 overall seed instead fell to Dallas in the conference semifinals, losing Game 7 by 33 points at Footprint Center.
Dallas will probably take Tuesday's Game 4 at home to avoid a sweep, but no NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit.
So Charles Barkley will have to hear it from the Warriors' fans Thursday night outside of Chase Center.
Here are five reasons the Suns should be kicking themselves for blowing a 2-0 lead, failing to close the series after winning Game 5 by 30, and trailing Game 7 by as many as 46 points in ending a historic season in abrupt disappointment.
Cooler hand from 3
Dallas shot 39.9% from 3 against the Suns, making an average of 15.5 a game.
Game 1 (L): 16-of-39.
Game 2 (L): 17-of-41.
Game 3 (W): 13-of-39.
Game 4 (W): 20-of-44.
Game 5: (L): 8-of-32.
Game 6 (W): 16-of-39.
Game 7 (W): 19-of-39.
Totals: (4-3): 109-of-273.
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In three games against the Warriors, Dallas is shooting 32.6% from 3.
Game 1 (L): 11-of-48.
Game 2 (L): 21-of-45.
Game 3: (L): 13-of-45.
Totals: (0-3): 45-of-138.
This is with Dallas connecting on 15-of-27 from deep in the first half of Game 2.
In the remaining 10 quarters, Dallas has only hit 30-of-111 (27.7%).
Where are the others?
Not only did Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock play standout defense on Devin Booker and Chris Paul, they knocked down 3s in that series.
Bullock hit 37.5% (18-of-48) while Finney-Smith was even hotter at 45% (18-of-40) as he nailed a playoff career-high eight 3s in Game 4 the Mavs won to even the series.
Against the Warriors, Bullock is all over the board from 3.
Game 1: 3-of-10.
Game 2: 6-of-10.
Game 3: 0-for-7.
In a must-win Game 3, Bullock went 0-for-10 overall on a scoreless night.
Don't role players usually perform better at home?
Finney-Smith is still knocking down 3s at a high clip at 41.1%, but he and Bullock aren't impacting the series defensively.
The Warriors are running free without much resistance.
Stephen Curry is just toying with them on the perimeter.
Then there’s Maxi Kleber.
Send out a search team for him. He’s been MIA in this series.
Kleber has six points in three games, hitting only 2-of-14 from 3 after splashing 13-of-28 against the Suns in averaging 9.9 points in the conference semifinals.
Seemingly having lost his confidence, Kleber is passing up 3s or hesitating.
That’s helping the Warriors recover on the rotations.
On top of that, he’s grabbed only eight rebounds in 67 minutes of action in the conference finals.
Kevon Looney is eating
Deandre Ayton averaged 15.7 points on 55.7% shooting and 8.1 rebounds against Mavs as he didn’t fully exploit his size advantage on the inside.
Kevon Looney is making the Mavs pay every chance he gets.
Not nearly as talented or gifted as Ayton, Looney is averaging 13.3 points on a ridiculous 82.1% shooting and 9.3 rebounds in the conference finals.
He's only missed five shots from the field against the Mavs in this series.
In his seventh NBA season, Looney posted his first career 20-point game in Game 2 as he went for 21 and 12 rebounds.
He followed that up with another 12-rebound night to go along with nine points Sunday.
The Suns know they didn’t utilize Ayton enough against the Mavs, but Ayton must be thinking if Looney can do this against Dallas, he could’ve done even more.
Effort and energy go a long way.
Looney is outworking the Mavs. He’s had his hands ready to catch and finish, too.
Ayton should take notes on both.
Warriors protecting ball, dominating glass
Phoenix turned the ball over a total of 56 times in its first three losses to the Mavs in the conference semifinals that’s led to a total of 74 Dallas points.
The Warriors have committed a total of 44 turnovers in their three wins over the Mavs in the conference finals that’s led to only 39 Dallas points.
In Game 3, Golden State had just 13 and Dallas only scored 10 off them.
The Warriors aren’t giving Dallas any easy ones – and taking what they want on the glass in building a 141-98 rebounding advantage (plus-43).
Game 1: Warriors 51 rebounds (seven offensive), 14 second-chance points. Mavs 35 rebounds (nine offensive), eight second-chance points.
Game 2: Warriors 43 rebounds (eight offensive), 14 second-chance points. Mavs 30 rebounds (four offensive), 13 second-chance points.
Game 3: Warriors 47 rebounds (14 offensive), 18 second-chance points. Mavs 33 rebounds (seven offensive, four second-chance points.
Golden State is averaging 15.3 second-chance points.
The Suns finished plus-54 on the glass versus Dallas but they averaged 13.7 second-chance points and that’s with 26 points generated in that Game 7 flop.
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Lastly, the Suns matched up well with Warriors
Even if Golden State had gone small with Green at the five, he’s not a threat from 3 despite him making one every blue moon.
Green contributes in so many ways, but he’s shooting just 25% in the playoffs on 3s after connecting on only 28.6% in the regular season.
Phoenix would’ve lived with Green hoisting 3s.
Yes, Curry is one of the toughest covers ever, but Mikal Bridges can utilize his length and athleticism to contest shots.
Bridges couldn’t match the size and strength of Luka Doncic.
When Suns coach Monty Williams switched Bridges onto Jalen Brunson, that changed how Phoenix defended Dallas.
Devin Booker would’ve had a tough task containing this Klay Thompson we're seeing against the Mavs. Andrew Wiggins likely draws the assignment of checking Booker, but on switches, Thompson would've had his hands full with him.
Could see Chris Paul on Wiggins, who has attacked Doncic. Paul knows tricks Doncic doesn't that if nothing else could lead to Wiggins picking up offensive fouls.
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Curry likely guards Paul on the other end. Curry competes, but Paul could've had success despite how he looked in the last five games versus Dallas.
Ayton averaged 20.3 points and 10 rebounds in four regular-season games against Golden State. Got to believe those numbers rise in a series, especially if the Suns make it a priority to feed Ayton and he plays with force.
Then again, they could’ve done the same thing to Dallas and didn’t over the course of the series.
Now the Suns will watch the Warriors reach the finals without having to play them because they didn't match the moment against Dallas.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: 5 reasons Phoenix Suns should be mad Warriors up 3-0 on Mavericks