The Dallas Mavericks (16-35) head to Phoenix to face off against the Suns (17-34) Wednesday night. This is the second of three matchups this season, with the Suns up 1-0 in the series following a 97-91 victory in mid-December. Both the Mavericks and Suns are stumbling through long losing streaks with Dallas dropping their last four games and the Suns dropping their last five.
Each team will be playing off a day’s rest which should translate to a decent match up for the nightcap game on ESPN.
Now, some things to consider this evening.
The battle for the bottom
Mavs Moneyball has been loathe to discuss or promote tanking but by this point in the season it’s hard to acknowledge how bad the team’s record is without discussing what that potentially means. Though neither the Suns nor the Mavericks are mathmatically eliminated from the playoffs yet, with around 30 games to play in the regular season, their fates are all but set.
Neither team is poised to tank, however, despite each team being among the bottom five in the entire NBA. The Mavericks have too many veterans and an experienced coach and the Suns have too many lottery players on their team already to care about what one game could mean towards their franchise’s respective lottery chances.
Expect a hard fought game.
The injury report
Each team has one of their most impactful players listed on the injury report as “questionable” as of this writing. Devin Booker has a rib injury and missed the game against the Grizzlies on Monday. J.J. Barea is dealing with an oblique strain and has missed the prior two Maverick contests.
Booker is a near All Star and his absence would be a major blow for the Suns. The Mavericks miss Barea in a very bad way as he’s been a steady cog in the very effective Dallas second unit.
Home vs Away
Despite having home court advantage, the Suns should be slight underdogs to the Mavericks heading into the match up. Phoenix some how has more wins on the road (9) than they do at home (8).
Something has to give though as the Mavericks aren’t very good on the road either. Their six road wins are tied with Memphis, the Magic, and the Jazz for the third worst in the entire NBA.
How to watch
Tip off is set for 9:30 CST on ESPN. Local viewers may have ESPN blacked out and if that’s the case, tune to Fox Sports Southwest. The game will not be on NBA League Pass.