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Center of the Sun: Suns return to defend home court after Mavericks tie series 2-2

Your weekly roundup of Suns news, rumors, notes and videos from the prior week plus a preview of the week to come.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks W (121-114) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks W (129-109) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks L (103-94) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks L (111-101) Full Recap

The Suns looked as though they were in control following their Game-2 win in Phoenix but that all changed once the series moved to Dallas. Dallas ratcheted up their defense, got others to share the offensive load and just seemed to throw the Suns out of sync. During the last two games, the Suns have had their two worst shooting nights of the playoffs and have been very prone to turnovers. I credit that to Dallas’ defense.

The Mavs have also gotten players other than Luka Doncic going offensively which wasn’t happening in games 1 and 2. That’s on the Suns’ defense.

The Suns have actually shot better from the field, the three point line and the free throw line than Dallas for the series but turnovers have killed them in the last 2 allowing Dallas an average of 7.5 more FG attempts per game. With a team that is hitting 40.8% of their threes and averaging a playoffs high of 41.4 3-point attempts per game (as opposed to the Suns’ 26.9 attempts per game), it will catch up to you as it has with the Suns.

For the Suns to get back on top of this series, they’re going to have to raise their level of perimeter defense and get more stingy with their turnovers. They can’t gift the Mavericks any more extra shot attempts.


Game Highlights

#4 MAVERICKS at #1 SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | May 2, 2022

Deandre Ayton (25 PTS) Dominates Round 2 Game 1 vs. Dallas Mavericks

MAVERICKS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | May 4, 2022

Devin Booker & Chris Paul 58 PTS Combined Full Highlights vs Mavs in Game 2

#1 SUNS at #4 MAVERICKS| FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | May 6, 2022

Jae Crowder 19 PTS 7 REB: All Possessions (2022-05-06)

#1 SUNS at #4 MAVERICKS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | May 8, 2022


Key Stats

18.7% (Suns) vs 10.3 (Mavs) TOV%

Turnover percentage is the percentage of a team’s (or player’s) possessions that end in a turnover. The numbers above are for the last two games. The Suns have turned the ball over at almost twice the rate of Dallas and that isn’t a recipe for success.

22.5 (Mavs) vs 12.0 (Suns) Points Off Turnovers

That’s 10.5 extra points per game given to Dallas through Suns turnovers in the last two games. The Suns must take better care of the ball for the remaining games in this series if they want to move on.

93.63 Pace (all 4 games)

The pace of the game generally slows in the playoffs but this plays more to the Mavericks’ strengths than the Suns. In the regular season, the Suns were 8th in pace at 100.26 while Dallas was 30th at 95.64. In the last two games, Dallas has controlled the pace even more and forced it down to 91.75.

Random stats: Deandre Ayton is shooting 65.3 FG% this postseason after setting the NBA record for the highest FG% in a single postseason during the 2021 Playoffs at 65.8 FG%.


Quotes of the Week

“You gotta get in a guy’s way, sit down and guard. That’s how I was taught when I came into the league. You can’t rely on help.” - Monty Williams

“We are going out there to win an NBA championship. We know what we’re here for and that’s the only reason I came here.” - JaVale McGee

“This is so far from a regular-season game, it’s not even funny. Physicality, all of it, it’s heightened a bit. So it’s going to bring out a lot of the competitive drives that we all have.” - Monty Williams


Injury Status Report

Torrey Craig (Elbow) Game Time Decision.

Dario Saric (Knee) Out for the season.


News & Notes

There are no good answers for the Chris Paul-Deandre Ayton duo. Basketball News

Suns’ Dario Saric Undergoes Knee Surgery. Hoops Rumors

JaVale McGee getting last laugh after ‘Shaqtin’ A Fool’ damaged reputation. A fourth title could be next. USA Today

Yes, Jae Crowder has more career playoff points than Anthony Davis. The Step Back

Why the Phoenix Suns can be forgiven for drafting Deandre Ayton over Luka Doncic. Lancaster Online

How the bond between Deandre and Andrea Ayton shaped path for Suns’ star. NBA.com

Bismack Biyombo is the X-factor for why Suns could win a title, and I’m not exaggerating. For The Win

Updated Finals MVP Odds – Devin Booker Moves to Betting Favorite. Sports Betting Dime

NBA Fans React To A Suns Fan’s Mural Of Devin Booker: “Bro Looks More Like KAT Than D-Book.” Fadeaway World


This Week in Suns History

On May 9, 2010, the Suns defeated the San Antonio Spurs 107-101 in San Antonio to sweep their Western Conference Semi-Finals series with the Spurs 4-0. It was only the 2nd time in franchise history that the Suns had swept a team in a 7-game playoff series. The First occurred 5 years earlier when the Suns swept the Memphis Grizzlies 4-0 in a first round series.

On May 11, 1992, the Suns lost 153-151 to the Portland Trail Blazers in a double overtime Western Conference Semifinals game. Phoenix’s 151 points are the most ever scored by a Suns team in a single playoff game and the most points scored by the Suns in a loss in either the playoffs or the regular season. The 153 points scored by Portland is also the most points ever scored against the Suns in a payoff game but only the 5th highest point total of a Suns opponent including regular season games.

On May 14, 2007, after defeating the San Antonio Spurs 104-98 to tie their Western Conference Semifinals series 2-2, Amar’e Stoudemire and Boris Diaw were suspended for one game by the NBA for stepping off the bench and onto the court after Robert Horry’s hit on Nash in the final minute of the game even though Stoudemire and Diaw never got close to the altercation on the court. Horry also received a two-game suspension from the league for his flagrant foul on Nash and for striking Raja Bell above the shoulders in the subsequent fracas.


Suns Trivia

In shooting 50%+ from the field in each of their first eight Playoff games, the Suns entered the NBA record books for the 2nd-longest such streak in a single postseason during the shot-clock era (since 1954-1955). They trail only the 1984 Lakers who did this in 10 straight Playoff games.

In Game-2 vs Dallas, the Suns made 64.5% of their FG attempts, a new franchise record for a playoff game. The Suns also had a 75.7% true shooting percentage which is the third highest all-time in the NBA during the playoffs. The highest was established in last season’s playoffs by the Clippers at 77.8% in Game-5 of their 2020 first round series against the Mavericks. The Suns’ TS% mark was briefly 2nd best but was surpassed by Golden State’s 76.1% true shooting percentage in Game-3 of their playoff series with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Jae Crowder (70) and Devin Booker (69) are now 4th and 5th (respectively) on the Suns’ All-Time leaders list for three-pointers made in the playoffs. They will both likely pass Raja Bell - who is presently 3rd with 73 - soon. Passing #2 Steve Nash (99) and #1 Dan Majerle (115) will take a little longer.

The Suns are 10-8 all-time in Western Conference Semifinals series, but have won 4 of the last 5 WCSF series they’ve appeared in.


Previewing the Week Ahead

Tuesday, May 10 - Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks 7:00 pm AZT (TNT)

Thursday, May 12 - Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks Time TBD (ESPN)

Sunday, May 15 - Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks Time & TV TBD - IF NECESSARY

It’s now a three game series with the Suns owning home court advantage. The Suns are going to have to make some adjustments when they return to Phoenix but I believe they will do so and win this series to progress to the Western Conference Finals. Will they do it in 6 or 7 games?

That’s the question of the week.

I predict that the Suns will pull out all the stops and win the next two games this week. Suns in 6.

What’s your prediction?

Poll

What’s your prediction for the Suns-Mavericks series?

  • 47%
    Suns in 6
    (109 votes)
  • 24%
    Suns in 7
    (57 votes)
  • 27%
    Mavs take it
    (64 votes)
230 votes total Vote Now

Important Future Dates

May 17 - NBA Draft Lottery.

May 17-18 - Conference Finals begin (possible move up to May 15-16)

June 2 - NBA Finals begin.

June 23 - NBA Draft.

July 7-17 - NBA Summer League (Las Vegas)