Where: Mexico City, Mexico
When: 8:00 PM AZ Time
Watch: Fox Sports Arizona
Listen: 98.7 FM
Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson is especially excited to bring the Phoenix Suns down to Mexico City for a two-game “home” stand.
This summer, he joined the NBA’s Americas Team Camp to run a weekend clinic teaching kids about basketball.
“To have opportunity to actually lead a team or program to Mexico, it’s so surreal to me,” Watson told me this summer about the trip.
“To bring any type of attention or exposure of the game of basketball to Mexico, to me, I don’t need a vacation. That’s more worthy than me sitting somewhere on a beach and getting chubbier than I already am.”
Now, at midseason of his first year coaching the Suns, he gets to bring the whole team with him.
Watson has some special connections down there.
“My mom is Mexican, by dad is black,” he said. “We grew up in a Mexican culture in our household as far as the way we ate, how we carried ourselves, was all Mexican.”
Now he gets to bring the American game down to sprawling Mexico City.
Who knows what’s going to happen in these games.
The altitude is mile-high, so Watson told ArizonaSports guys he hopes his young kids can keep their wind better than the older Mavericks. The Mavericks and Spurs, Saturday’s opponent in the same Mexico locale, are two of the league’s five oldest teams, while the Suns are 4th youngest.
After a really bad start (2-13), the Mavericks went through a good stretch (7-8), only to now be down again (2-6).
Off-season max signing Harrison Barnes has been their workhorse and might actually win Most Improved Player this year. Add in good recent health of Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris alongside Barnes and you have to wonder just how the Mavericks are SO BAD.
Well, it’s all about health and simply getting older. With the exception of Barnes, no one is a spring chicken or can claim this is the best year of their career. On the contrary, most of the Mavericks roster is in the once-was, not-yet or never-will stage.
But Harrison Barnes has been their revelation.
The Mavericks signed Barnes to a 4 year, $94 million contract after he was replaced on the Warriors by Kevin Durant. Despite playing 25+ minutes per night the last three years, Barnes was always the 4th to 5th option on the floor and never averaged more than 11.7 points or 5.5 rebounds per game in his career.
Yet now on the Mavericks, Barnes is smoking. He’s averaging more than 20 points per game and getting better (22 per game over the last 10 games), 36% of his threes (42% over the last 10), and maintaining his rebounds, defense and steals while mostly playing small-ball power forward.
Other than that, the Mavericks are struggling for young talent. Dorian Finney-Smith can play defense a bit, but isn’t much on the other end. Some other young players have talent, but aren't having good years.
Tonight, get ready for a lot of Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews and Dirk Nowitzki fighting the good fight.
These two teams just played last week in Dallas, and Eric Bledsoe led the Suns to a victory with big shots in the closing minutes. Bledsoe and Booker combined for 48 points on 50% shooting, while Brandon Knight and Alex Len combined for 31 off the bench.
The Dallas Mavericks are not only old, but they are just about the only NBA team with a worse record on the season than the Suns and they are one of the only other teams with both a bottom-10 offense AND defense along with the Suns.
Good game coming!