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Chris Paul scored 28 points, including 14 in another spectacular fourth quarter, to lead the Phoenix Suns over the visiting Dallas Mavericks 129-109 on Wednesday night for a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

Paul — a 12-time All-Star who turns 37 years old on Friday — almost single-handedly turned a tight game into a comfortable victory, the Suns’ 11th win in a row against the Mavericks counting regular-season games.

The Mavs led 60-58 at halftime but the Suns quickly recaptured the lead after Devin Booker hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the third. The Suns took an 89-83 advantage going into the final quarter and it looked like a tough fight was coming.

But that’s about the time Paul decided the game was his to control, hitting six shots in a row on everything from 3-pointers to mid-range jumpers to layups. The feisty Mavericks finally didn’t have an answer. Booker hit a pair of 3-pointers midway through the fourth to give the Suns a 114-95 lead.

Booker led the Suns with 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range. The Suns shot 64.5% overall and made 52% of their 3-pointers.

Game 3 is on Friday in Dallas.

The Mavericks will go home in a 2-0 hole, desperately needing contributions from someone other than Luka Doncic, who scored 35 points on 13-of-22 shooting two nights after a 45-point performance in Game 1. Reggie Bullock added 16 points.

The Suns jumped out to a 9-0 lead for a second straight game, but the Mavericks had a better response than in Game 1.

Dallas slowly fought back and Spencer Dinwiddie hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 38. Davis Bertans followed with a 3-pointer with 7:56 left in the second quarter to give the Mavs a 41-38 advantage and their first lead of the series.

The Mavs took a two-point lead after a foul-filled first half. Doncic scored 24 before the break on 9-of-14 shooting, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range. Crowder led the Suns with 15.

Heat take 2-0 lead in series

Bam Adebayo scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler had 22 points and 12 assists, and the Miami Heat beat the visiting Philadelphia 76ers 119-103 on Wednesday night for a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Victor Oladipo scored 19 points on his 30th birthday and Tyler Herro added 18 for the Heat, the East’s No. 1 seed. Oladipo had 10 of those points in the fourth quarter.

Tyrese Maxey scored 34 points for Philadelphia, which got 21 from Tobias Harris and 20 from James Harden.

A 10-0 run in the fourth turned an eight-point Miami lead into an 18-point edge, sealing the win and ensuring the Heat would hold home court before the series shifts north. Game 3 is Friday in Philadelphia.

And now, the Heat will hope history holds — and the 76ers will hope it doesn’t.

Miami has taken a 2-0 lead in 18 previous series, including the first round this season against Atlanta, and won the matchup every time. The 76ers’ franchise has dropped the first two games of a matchup on 19 other occasions, never recovering to win the series.

The question going into Friday will revolve around whether Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid could be ready for Game 3. The league’s scoring champion and MVP finalist has, not surprisingly, been big-time missed by the 76ers.

“We don’t have a big man right now,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers lamented.

Adebayo surely isn’t complaining. He was 8 for 10 from the field and 8 for 8 from the line in Game 1; he followed that up with a 7-for-11 night from the floor on Wednesday.

It wasn’t just the absence of Embiid, though, that hurt Philadelphia. The 76ers were awful again from 3-point range, shooting 8 for 30.

Danny Green was 1 for 10 from the field — the second time in his playoff career that he had that many attempts and shot that poorly in a postseason game. The other? A 1-for-12 effort for San Antonio in 2013, also in Miami, the night the Heat won their third and most recent NBA title.

The Heat aren’t close to that yet. But they are two wins from the East finals.


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