PHOENIX — Dallas Mavericks backup big Marquese Chriss didn’t let Bismack Biyombo cap a dominant Game 5 victory for the Phoenix Suns with a two-handed dunk with 2.3 seconds left.
Fouling Biyombo to prevent the jam, Chriss shouted expletives and slapped Biyombo’s hand down when Biyombo turned around and touched him on his chest.
“We’re trying to win the game,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “I get the competitiveness of the game, but we’re just trying to win the game.”
The two were immediately separated and ejected by referee David Guthrie, but that didn’t stop Chriss from going through the Suns’ entrance to go after Biyombo.
TNT sideline reporter Allie LaForce reported Chriss and Biyombo were separated before punches or physical contact was made.
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Still, there could be possible fines and suspensions coming out of this incident.
“All that stuff that happens that’s extracurricular is, I don’t have anything to say about that,” Williams continued. “I understand how chippy it can be. We just want to win the game and that’s it. We’re trying to get one more win and that’s our focus right now.”
A former Suns player, Chriss has only seen action in three games in this best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series. Playing a total of 11 minutes in this series, Chriss has totaled seven points and five rebounds in those three games.
Then Suns forward Ish Wainright and Mavs guard Sterling Brown exchanged words and were separated by arena security, Suns security and players from both teams.
The Suns, up 3-2, will look to close out the series Thursday in Dallas. If the Mavericks win, there will be a decisive Game 7 Sunday in Phoenix.
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“It’s playoff basketball,” Suns point guard Chris Paul said. “It happens, you move on. Get ready for Game 6.”
Williams had Biyombo, not JaVale McGee, come off the bench in the first quarter for Deandre Ayton. Biyombo played 21 minutes to McGee’s three.
“You don’t know how it’s going to work out, but when we looked at some of the matchups, the energy that Biz brings to the game, it was a hard decision,” Williams said. “I tried to play all three, but we felt like Biz’s energy would allow for us to make energy plays.”
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Biyombo posted seven points and seven rebounds while McGee started the second quarter and finished the game with zero points and two rebounds.
“He didn’t wow you with scoring and that kind of thing, but his attention to detail, his ability to play in multiple efforts on defense and he can finish around the basket,” Williams continued. “And he’s tough. That doesn’t mean JaVale can’t do it. We just went with Biz tonight because we knew he was going to bring that kind of energy and he matched up well against those guys.”
The Suns signed Biyombo back in mid-season. With Dario Saric missing all season rehabbing from a torn ACL sustained in Game 1 of last year’s finals, Biyombo has given the Suns a third big who is usually ready even after not playing several games in a row.
“Bizzy is just a great player, been in this league for a while,” Paul said. “He’s seen a lot of different things and at a certain point, it just comes down to grit and just want-to, and Bizzy, JaVale, DA (Deandre Ayton), all those guys, they did a great job. I think we ‘re fortunate to have three different centers like that you can rotate and trust them all at any given time.
Ayton posted a near double-double of 20 points and nine rebounds, but he was very happy to talk about Biyombo’s impact on Game 5.
“That’s the Bizzy effect,” Ayton said. “It’s really contagious how that man can slide his feet and just bring that energy and give a guard in the pick-and-roll a different look ’cause typical bigs are always in a drop and calling out coverage and really not up so high. Just seeing him, how have I changed the game up, being up so high and sliding his feet without fouling?”
Biyombo guarded Luka Doncic on a switch in the first half and forced a miss at the end of the shot clock.
“Me and JaVale are sometimes looking at each other on the bench like, ‘I can do that too bruh,'” Ayton continued. “It’s just good seeing that and we have something else at the center position to do that. It’s real fun to see that.”
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Marquese Chriss, Bismack Biyombo tussle after Suns beat Mavericks