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Game Preview: Suns travel to Dallas for battle against Mavericks

Phoenix will look to improve to 2-0 against the Mavericks this season.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What: Dallas Mavericks (11-11, 10th in West) vs. Phoenix Suns (16-7, 1st in West)

When: 6:30 PM AZ time

Where: American Airlines Center — Dallas, TX

Watch: Bally Sports Arizona, NBATV

Listen: 98.7 FM

DraftKings Betting Odds: Mavericks are -2.5 favorites, over/under is 221.5 total points

The Phoenix Suns sit atop the Western Conference at 16-7 and are winners in 7 of their last 8 games played.

Up next for the shorthanded but still ever-so-dangerous Suns is the Dallas Mavericks, who despite their struggles remain a tough task at home where they are 9-3 on the season. Dallas is 4-6 in their last 10 games, dropping to the last spot of the play-in teams.

The Suns got their revenge on Dallas in the season opener, where they stormed back for a win after being down by 22 points. Damion Lee’s late-game heroics were a sign of things to come early on in the season.

The Suns struggled in Dallas during the Western Conference semifinals, dropping all three contests that took place there.

When asked about returning to Dallas, Devin Booker stated: “That’ll be a big game.”

Devin Booker vs. Luka Doncic. Grab your popcorn.

Projected Starters


  • Cam Payne
  • Devin Booker
  • Mikal Bridges
  • Dario Saric (?)
  • Deandre Ayton


  • Spencer Dinwiddie
  • Luka Doncic
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith
  • Dwight Powell

Injury Report

Phoenix Suns:

  • Duane Washington Jr. (hip) — OUT
  • Chris Paul (heel) — OUT
  • Torrey Craig (groin) — OUT
  • Cam Johnson (knee) — OUT
  • Jae Crowder (chillin) — OUT

Dallas Mavericks:

  • Christian Wood — QUESTIONABLE
  • Kemba Walker — OUT

What to Watch

  • By the numbers

Offensive Rating

PHX- 117.5 (2nd) — DAL- 113.2 (9th)

Defensive Rating

PHX- 109.1 (5th) — DAL- 110.8 (8th)


PHX- 98.9 (20th) — DAL 96.3 (29th)

As you can see, we have a pair of top-10 offenses and defenses when looking at their ratings on each side of the ball.

Along with that, the slow(er) pace played by each team should make for an interesting matchup in terms of the Xs and Os.

  • Contain Tim Hardaway Jr.

In his last three games, THJ is averaging 25.3 points per game on 50% shooting from three-point range on 12.7 attempts per game. Luka needs all the offensive help he can get at this point, so eliminating the ancillary pieces around him will be the key to securing a tough road victory.

  • Big fella’s gotta eat

Deandre Ayton is on quite the stretch right now. If you kindly ignore the dud against Houston where he was marred by foul trouble early then you’ll see that his trajectory is towards making a run at securing a spot in the All-Star Game.

Over his last 9 contests, he’s averaging 20.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.0 blocks on 67% shooting from the floor.

He got back on track against the Spurs on Sunday afternoon with a 25-10 line.

Speaking of bigs... JaVale McGee has essentially lost his rotation spot already, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see Jason Kidd go to him for a boost in energy against his former team.

I’m interested to see how Monty handles his big man rotation with Saric, Landale and Biyombo at his disposal.


Phoenix’s lack of wing depth catches up to them in this one. It’s already tough enough to contain Luka, but without Johnson, Crowder, Craig (and CP3) it’s a tall task.

Dallas is solid at home and needs this game more than Phoenix does.

Mavs win 115-111. Hope I’m wrong.

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