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Game Thread #27: Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks

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You want a big game?  You've got it.  I think this could easily be the biggest game in the NBA so far this season.  Sure, the Suns have won 16 out of the past 17, are scoring 112 points per game, have demolished many of their opponents, swept a 5 game road-trip and have the 2nd best record in the league.  But if they can't beat the Mavericks (who have the best record in the league), then people are going to say the Suns aren't ready for the big leagues.

It's hard for me to say that they aren't ready to be the elite team in the league just because they can't beat the Mavericks.  But in reality, to really get the respect the Suns desire, they have to win this game tonight.

I think Amare Stoudemire is going to have a monster game.  There really isn't anyone on the Mavericks that can slow him down.  Dampier and Diop can try but if Amare brings his "A" game, he'll get Dampier in foul trouble quickly and he'll be able to run Diop out of the building.  Boris Diaw should also be able to continue handing out assists and hopefully he'll bring up his scoring as well.

Here are my keys to the game:

  1.  Play Defense - That seems like a simple one but the Suns can't outrun the Mavericks.  The Mavs can run almost as well as the Suns.  I'm not saying the Suns shouldn't run.  I'm just saying they need to get back on defense and play it well.
  2.  Get to the Free Throw Line - Another thing the Mavs are good at is shooting.  If the Suns get into an outside shooting match, the Mavs can keep up with them.  Phoenix has so many guys that can cut to the basket and wait for Nash and Diaw to pass the ball to them.  And once that game gets going, it should open up the 3-point shot even more.
  3.  Hold Nowitzki to under 25 - It seems that Dirk Nowitzki kills the Suns every time.  The Mavs have a lot of people who can beat the Suns on any given night but it seems that Nowitzki is the one chosen to beat the Suns.  When the Suns can keep him from getting hot, they usually will win the game.
I've already got the seat ready on my couch for tonight's game.  You should get yours ready to.

Comments on the game or on my keys to the game?  Feel free to comment below or create your own diary (to the right).