Despite his youthful face and still being in the fairly stages of his NBA career, Luka Doncic is putting together a playoff resumé that is historically good.

But is his greatness enough for Dallas Mavericks to beat top-seeded Phoenix Suns?

We will find out on Sunday live on Sky Sports Arena & Main Event, from 12.30am overnight.

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Doncic, in just his fourth year in the league, already looks like a veteran in the heat and clamour of the NBA postseason and he is an elimination game killer.

The Slovenian superstar averages a ridiculous 39 points in elimination games. LeBron James and Alex Groza, who played in the league for just two years at the start of the 1950s, are tied for second place at 33.5 points per game.

Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Kevin Durant are also above 30 points per game when facing elimination but none of them are at near 40 like Doncic. He has played 22 postseason games so the sample size is fairly significant as well and he has scored 30-or-more points in 13 of those.

The last time Luka Doncic was in a Game 7 situation, last year against the Los Angeles Clippers, he went off for 46 points and 14 assists on 56.7 per cent shooting – and that was against two-time Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard.

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Against Phoenix’s Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Mikal Bridges, he scored 33 points in a win-or-go-home situation in the Mavs’ Game 6 victory. Against Leonard and the Clippers, he lost – therein lies the rub tonight.

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Luka Doncic narrowly misses out on a triple-double with 33 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in a Game 6 win over the Phoenix Suns

He has to play well or Dallas literally has no chance.

It’s also worth noting that Doncic also holds the second-highest scoring playoffs average, overall, across all his games, in league history at 32.8 points per game. Jordan is the only player ahead of him in that category, as he averaged 33.4 points per game in his postseason career.

That’s perhaps why Spencer Dinwiddie feels so strongly that they can get the first road win of the series in Sunday night’s decider.

“Obviously they’re at home, hostile environment,” Dinwiddie said. “However, they also say that Game 7 usually goes to the best player, and I believe that is the case in this series.”

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Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic reacts to their Game 6 win over the Phoenix Suns and says he believes his team can finish the job in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semi-finals

Suns All-Star guard Devin Booker on the other hand feels that Phoenix is getting its just reward for compiling an NBA-best 64-18 regular season record.

“We worked all season to have home-court advantage and get the last game in our house,” Booker said. “It’s exciting. It’s Game 7. I’ve never been in a Game 7, so this will be fun.”

It will be. Join us live on Sunday night to see who will earn the right to take on the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns – Game 7 (live on Sky Sports Arena & Main Event from 12.30am overnight)

Key notes: The home team has won each of the first six games in this series, which now moves back to Phoenix for the final game. Though the series has been close, the individual games often have been blowouts: three of the six have been decided by at least 20 points. Mavs star Luka Doncic has averaged more than 32 points per game in the series despite shooting just 29.6 per cent from 3-point range. Doncic has been productive, but his supporting cast has struggled on the road against the Suns. Phoenix is shooting nearly 50 per cent for the series but has struggled with turnovers. Devin Booker leads the Suns with 25.5 points per game.

Keep an eye on: Suns point guard Chris Paul. The 12-time All-Star is having a difficult series, averaging just 6.5 assists, which is well below his regular-season average. The 37-year-old has had a handful of spectacular performances in the postseason over the past two years and the Suns might need another one on Sunday.

Injury watch: Doncic appears to have a left thigh injury but he has downplayed the severity. It’s something that bears watching in Game 7. Said Doncic: “I just felt like a little pop in the beginning and then when I was warming up it was kind of okay. Now it’s a little bit worse. But it’s nothing serious.”

Pressure is on: Suns. Phoenix is trying to make it back to the NBA Finals for a second straight season and had the league’s best regular-season record. Losing in the second round of the playoffs would be a major disappointment. Dallas doesn’t have nearly as great expectations.

The rush of live NBA Playoffs games continues on Sky Sports this weekend – see the list of games here and subscribe to watch the live action.



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