When: Sunday, 11:00 AM AZ time
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX.
Watch: ABC, Bally Sports
Listen: 98.7 FM
I can’t lie to my Brightside family...I am absolutely pumped for this game. Not only is it a Suns game on national TV at an hour convenient to we east coast Suns faithful, but it’s also a major clash of two star-studded teams battling for playoff position.
The Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns are very familiar opponents, but this is the first time each time will see the other since blockbuster trades that sent former Nets Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to Dallas and Phoenix, respectively.
This is a great road test for the new-look Suns against a very plausible postseason opponent in an atmosphere that is likely to be electric. I am very much here for it.
The Suns are currently 1.5 point underdogs in this one, per Draftkings.
Probable Starting Lineups
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Josh Okogie
PF: Kevin Durant
C: Deandre Ayton (QUESTIONABLE)
PG: Kyrie Irving
PG: Luka Doncic
SG: Josh Green
SF: Reggie Bullock
C: Dwight Powell
Like the Suns, the Mavericks are in the first few games adjusting to a radically different composition following the Feb. 6 trade that sent Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith (plus picks) to Brooklyn for Kyrie and Markieff Morris.
While our old pal Kieff has played only sparingly, Kyrie has been red hot for the Mavs. In eight games for his new club, the mercurial guard has averaged nearly 27 points on a fantastic 65% true shooting, along with about 7 assists and 5 rebounds. But the Mavs haven’t been especially successful despite Kyrie’s hot hand, going just 4-5 in their 9 games since the trade (Irving did not play in the Mavs’ Feb. 15 loss to the Denver Nuggets.)
The Mavericks are a team with two electrifying scorers and ballhandlers in Irving and Luka Doncic...but that’s about all they are. The rest of the Dallas roster is a collection of relatively unremarkable roleplayers, and they don’t have a lot of defenders to speak of: They’re surrendering about 117 points per game in February and March.
The Mavericks’ last game, against the Philadelphia 76ers, is a pretty stark example. Kyrie and Luka combined for 82 points in Dallas’ 133-126 win. Only two other Mavericks were in double figures.
Landry Shamet (foot) is OUT
Deandre Ayton (knee) is DAY-TO-DAY
Terrence Ross (toe) is DAY-TO-DAY
Davis Bertans is OUT
Maxi Kleber is DAY-TO-DAY
As previously mentioned, this game has big-time postseason feel to it, and I think the Suns will be eager to make a statement. Durant’s first two games as a Sun, as well as he played and as much as the Suns went 2-0, were against the basement-dwelling Charlotte Hornets and the below mediocre Chicago Bulls.
The Mavericks are a Western Conference rival in playoff position, and I think the Suns will be looking to really put the West on notice with this one, despite being underdogs on the road.
Even if Ayton doesn’t end up playing, I just think the Suns are the better team. The Mavericks will doubtless provide a tough challenge for the Suns in trying to cover two such dynamic multi-level scorers as Doncic and Irving, but I think Phoenix is more able to get crucial defensive stops than Dallas is, and that will be the difference in this one.
Suns win 126-118.