For the most part, everything has gone the Dallas Mavericks’ way in three of the last four games against the Phoenix Suns in their Western Conference semifinals series.
After falling into a 2-0 deficit at the start of the series, Luka Doncic and the Mavs have stormed back to force a Game 7 on Sunday after blowing out the Suns in Game 6, 113-86.
Although Dallas has the momentum heading into the finale on the road, the home team has won every game in this series. The Mavs desperately need their role players’ home production to translate to the road for just one game… but what if they also got some psychological help based on who is officiating Game 7?
On Friday, the NBA announced that Scott Foster will miss Game 6 of the Milwaukee Bucks ’semifinals series against the Boston Celtics due to a non-Covid related illness. Given Foster’s history with Suns’ point guard Chris Paul in big games, one has to wonder if his absence tonight means making an appearance on Sunday in Phoenix.
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Whether you want to call it a conspiracy, bad luck, or whatever else you may think of, the fact remains that Paul is 0-14 in his playoff career when Foster is officiating the game.
Do we believe Foster has it out for Paul? Of course not. Foster wouldn’t still be in the league if that was the case, at least we’d hope. But do we believe Paul has a mental block when he knows Foster is coming? Absolutely.
“(We’ve gotta) bring the same energy from the jump. Be ready to punch them in the mouth early. Just keep that going throughout the game,” said Reggie Bullock, who went from scoring no points in Game 5 to 19 points. on 5-11 shooting from downtown in Game 6.
The Mavs already have momentum, an extra day of rest, and the luxury of having the best player on the floor going for them. If Foster ends up officiating Game 7, that “punch in the mouth” might be a little bit harder.