When: Wednesday, January 24, – at 6:30 p.m. AZ Time
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Watch: ABC, Arizona’s Family 3TV
Listen: KMVP 98.7 FM
The Phoenix Suns are seven games above .500 for the first time all season. Is it a coincidence that they are playing some of their best ball when Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, and Kevin Durant are healthy? No. This is how sports work. When a team’s best players are playing, the team plays their best.
What we’ve seen with Phoenix mostly healthy for an extended stretch is that their problems may differ from what we expected. Instead of blowing big leads, Phoenix now is getting down early and having to fight to the final second to pull out wins.
In two of their last four games, the Suns have had to overcome 20-plus point second-half deficits to keep their six-game win streak alive. However, through the early game lapses, Phoenix is playing their best basketball of the season.
The Suns on Christmas Day — 14-15, 10th in the West.— Suns Are Better (@SunsAreBetter) January 23, 2024
The Suns today — 25-18, 5th in the West.
11-3 over that stretch. Got healthy, stayed healthy, kept building and stacking Ws.
Less than a month, and the season has been saved. We’re so back.
In this NBA Rivals Week matchup, the Phoenix Suns will look to exact revenge against Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks, who ousted the Valley 128-114 on Christmas day at the Footprint Center after winning the fourth quarter 37-22. This is the Valley’s first game of a seven-game road trip.
Unlike the first matchup between these two teams this year, we may see Bradley Beal and Kyrie Irving play. If the Suns’ big three all play and Dončić and Irving are available, the contest will inevitably be full of offensive fireworks.
- Bradley Beal
- Devin Booker
- Grayson Allen
- Kevin Durant
- Jusuf Nurkić
- Luka Dončić
- Kyrie Irving
- Josh Green
- Derrick Jones Jr.
- Dereck Lively II
Eric Gordon – QUESTIONABLE (Right Wrist Soreness)
Bol Bol – OUT (Right Foot Sprain)
Damion Lee – OUT (Right Meniscus Surgery)
Seth Curry – QUESTIONABLE (Left Ankle Sprain)
Luka Dončić – QUESTIONABLE (Lower Back Tightness)
Dante Exum – QUESTIONABLE (Right Plantar Sprain)
Kyrie Irving – QUESTIONABLE (Right Thumb Sprain)
What to Watch For
Kevin Durant has averaged 41.5 points per game on 34/57 shooting in his last two games. He is due for a bad game, or at least one worse than his previous two. Expect strong performances from Devin Booker and Bradley Beal playing against either Dallas backups or a hobbled Dončić and Irving.
Booker on Friday just went for 52 points against the New Orleans Pelicans, and Bradley Beal, less than two weeks ago, dropped 37 on the Lakers. The Valley’s secondary and tertiary stars should have no issue picking up the offensive load if Durant has an off night or is smothered on defense.
Drew Eubanks had one of his best games of the season on Monday, going for 10 points on 4-4 shooting with eight rebounds and four assists. It was just his second double-digit scoring game of 2024 and the second most he’s had all season.
Eric Gordon is the only somewhat consistent Suns bench player currently. Perhaps Eubanks rides his hot performance into Texas for this primetime matchup and continues to solidify his case as a reliable reserve option.
Key to a Suns Win
Don’t let Luka Dončić do what he did on Christmas again.
The Slovenian star had 50 points on Christmas, tying Rick Barry for the third-most-ever for a Christmas game. Phoenix needs to find a way to slow him down ever so slightly, and not let him control tempo like he did last time.
Luka tonight vs. Suns:— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 26, 2023
⭐️ 50 PTS
⭐️ 14 AST
⭐️ 8-16 3PM
4th 50-ball on Christmas Day in NBA history pic.twitter.com/NY4N5eS2kM
With both Dončić and Irving injured, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker would be wise to attack them on offense if they are both in the lineup. Doing so will generate good looks for themselves and the rest of the team.
The Suns extend the win streak to seven games. Dallas’s top players are coming into the contest wounded. If the Mavericks overcompensate for Durant’s hot play, they will run the risk of leaving opportunities for Phoenix’s other stars to dominate on the offensive end. Give me Phoenix in a high-scoring battle.
Suns 123, Mavericks 111