When: Wednesday, 7:00 PM AZ time
Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ
Watch: ESPN, Bally Sports
Listen: 98.7 FM
LFG! After an offseason that saw no major trades nor any revelatory free agent signings, featured some lingering locker room tension, and, oh yeah, a bombshell report about Robert Sarver’s conduct, the time has arrived.
Phoenix Suns basketball is back, baby.
The Suns will tip off this season with a rematch against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, the same team that ended the Suns’ campaign in humiliating fashion last season. I’m willing to bet the Suns haven’t forgotten, and I know the fans haven’t.
The Suns are currently 4.5 point favorites over the Mavs, which personally strikes me as a little disrespectful at home against a Mavs team that even most Dallas fans don’t seem to think could be much better than a fifth or sixth seed this year. And yet, the Suns were 6.5-point favorites in Game 7...
Probable Starting Lineups
- PG: Chris Paul
- SG: Devin Booker
- SF: Mikal Bridges
- PF: Cam Johnson
- C: Deandre Ayton
- PG: Luka Doncic
- SG: Spencer Dinwiddie
- SF: Reggie Bullock
- PF: Dorian-Finney Smith
- C: JaVale McGee
The Mavericks return the same core that carried them last season, and they’ll lean heavily on both the scoring and playmaking skills of Luka Doncic. Dallas head coach Jason Kidd does have one potent new addition at his disposal, as the Mavs acquired PF/C Christian Wood, an able scorer, in a trade with the Rockets in June. Kidd has indicated Wood will start the season on the bench as the leader of the second unit, and many are predicting him as a strong candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award.
Suns: Landry Shamet (hip) is OUT. Jae Crowder (trade request) is also OUT. Suns coach Monty Williams says everyone else is ready to go.
Dallas: Davis Bertans and Frank Ntilikina are both OUT. Maxi Kleber is listed as day-to-day.
These teams know eachother well, and I think it will be a competitive contest and the Doncic will probably put up a silly video game stat line like 26/11/10.
But that said, I think the Suns’ will be fueled by both a need to redeem themselves from last season and to put the league on notice that rumors of their demise amid the chaos of the offseason are greatly exaggerated.
The Suns win this one 116-109, starting the season off right.