What happened in the teams' previous meetings?
Both the Mavericks and the Suns have defied expectations this season. While that's been a good thing for the Mavericks, it has been a very bad thing for the Suns. We got a preview of this on opening night when, despite injuries, Dallas started the year off with an unexpected (and unexpectedly fun) win over the Suns and former Mav Tyson Chandler. The Mavs notched another victory against the struggling squad last month.
What have the Suns done lately?
If you think the Mavs have had a rough winter, consider this: the Phoenix Suns have won just two of their last 20 games. Since December 20, their record is .100, including two losses to Philadelphia, a loss to the Lakers, and a loss in which they gave up 142 to the Kings. Their point differential during this period is -13.
The reason for the rough patch depends on who you ask. They're due in part to injury, with both Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are out indefinitely, but 21-year-old Archie Goodwin, who's been filling in during their absence, blames himself. Suns owner Robert Sarver has a pretty nutty theory about how millennials are responsible. Markieff Morris seems pretty unhappy with coach Jeff Hornacek.
But everyone agrees that this season is a disaster.
Will Tyson Chandler finally have his revenge game?
Although the Mavs' decision to let Chandler go seemed like a mistake at the time, he hasn't done anything to prove the team wrong. Tonight will be his last chance this season.
Even before the Suns' current slump, Chandler's performance had dipped since his last season in Dallas. His stats across the board are some of the lowest in his career, on par with the seasons in which he suffered serious injuries. But his games against Dallas have been some of his toughest this season, with just three points and six rebounds in the first and six points and three rebounds in the second.
How to watch
Tonight's game will be on Fox Sports Southwest in the Dallas area, on Fox Sports Arizona in Phoenix, and via NBA League Pass elsewhere. Tipoff is at 6:00PM Central.