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Game Preview: Suns (34-9) visit Dallas (26-19) for TNT showdown

The Suns will look to improve to 3-0 against Dallas this season in their season series finale.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

What: Phoenix Suns (34-9) vs. Dallas Mavericks (26-19)

When: 5:30 PM AZ Time

Where: American Airlines Center — Dallas, Texas.

Watch: Bally Sports AZ, TNT

Listen: 98.7 FM

Line: Mavericks -2


The Phoenix Suns sit atop the league at 34-9 and are riding a 4-game win streak entering Thursday’s matchup on TNT.

They will be facing a red-hot Dallas Mavericks squad that has won 4 straight games and 10 of their last 11 contests. Phoenix and Dallas are tied for a league-best 4-game win streak at the moment, and the Suns are 8-2 in their last 10.

Phoenix will look to improve to 3-0 against the Mavericks this season, after defeating them in consecutive games back in November. This is the last time these two teams will meet in the regular season. Luka Doncic missed both of those games earlier in the season.

Projected Starters

Phoenix

  • Chris Paul
  • Devin Booker
  • Mikal Bridges
  • Jae Crowder
  • JaVale McGee

Dallas

  • Jalen Brunson
  • Luka Doncic
  • Dorian Finney-Smith
  • Kristaps Porzingis
  • Maxi Kleber

Injury Report

Phoenix:

  • Deandre Ayton (OUT)
  • Frank Kaminsky (OUT)
  • Abdel Nader (OUT)
  • Dario Saric (OUT)

Dallas:

  • Sterling Brown (OUT)

What to Watch

  • Containing Luka

Doncic is fresh off a 41-point outing last night in a win against the Toronto Raptors. He did play 42 minutes though, so keep an eye out on potential fatigue down the stretch. This becomes especially relevant with Mikal Bridges likely to hound him all game long, but as we all know containing Luka is a team effort.

A lot of Dallas role players have been stepping up quite a bit of late as well, so Phoenix will need to be locked in defensively.

  • Defensive Battle

The Suns have the second-best defensive rating in the NBA at 104.2, which is nothing new. The Mavs on the other hand, are surprisingly 4th in DRTG (106.4) and you have to give credit to head coach Jason Kidd for getting the most out of his team on that end. On the other side of the floor, Phoenix is 6th in offensive rating while Dallas sits in the bottom half of the league at 21.

Defense will play a major factor tonight, and Phoenix will need McGee, Biyombo, and Smith to step up with Deandre Ayton sidelined.

  • Book it

Devin Booker has been scorching hot of late. In his past 3 games, he’s averaged 37.7 PPG, 4.3 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.0 SPG on 52/38/80 shooting splits. Booker and Doncic each entering the game following a 40+ point outing should certainly make for an interesting matchup.

We’ve seen him enter this mode for an extended stretch, and they’re going to need him to continue his stellar play tonight with the big fella.

Who on Dallas is up for the defensive challenge?

Prediction Time

I have this one going down to the wire, but Phoenix prevails and sweeps the season series.

Suns- 111 Mavs- 108