The Dallas Mavericks rolled the Phoenix Suns Monday night in Dallas, winning 130-111. The game was never really in doubt once the Mavericks went on a big run halfway through the first quarter. The Suns were able to put together a few short challenges throughout the game, but never crept within more than 15 after the Mavericks’ initial first quarter surge. There have been times when Dallas has let teams back into games, including these Suns in the first game of the season. Not tonight. They held on for the win.
Luka Doncic led all scorers with 33 points, while also grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out six assists. Josh Green chipped in 16 points off the bench on 6-of-7 shooting. Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 20 points and eight rebounds.
Here are three thoughts from the game:
The Mavericks had great energy all night
The Suns were on the second night of a back-to-back, and their third game in four nights. That should be a scheduled win for the Mavericks. This season, however, we’ve seen Dallas struggle to win the games they should. Tonight was different. It was clear from the jump they had more energy than the Suns and there would be no messing around at all.
The normally plodding Mavericks raced up and down the court, especially in the first half. They had 11 fast break points in the first half alone. They average 9.8 per game for the season. They slowed things down a bit in the second half, but only on offense. Their defensive intensity remained high, and the Suns dead legs contributed to some below average 3-point shooting. It was nice to see the Mavericks take care of business against a tired team.
Phoenix couldn’t make Dallas pay for their defensive scheme
The Mavericks sent aggressive double teams at Devin Booker most of the game, daring the other Suns to beat them. They couldn’t, and this forced Booker into inefficient shots. He finished the game with just 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Booker only attempted two 3-pointers, and only went 1-of-4 at the rim.
With Booker neutralized, the Suns had no one else who could create offense for them. Ayton scored a bunch, but mostly by cleaning up around the basket on offensive rebounds or when he got a mismatch with a smaller player on a scramble. The Suns really missed Chris Paul, out with a sore heel.
Despite the win, the same problems are lurking.
The Mavericks won going away, but they were still outrebounded by a very tired Suns team. The Suns had more assists. And Phoenix owned the paint, outscoring the Mavericks 46-42, a number that looks closer than it actually was due to garbage time. Dallas mostly won this game by outshooting the Suns. They were 52 percent from the floor overall, compared to the Suns’ 43 percent. And they were absolutely flammable from deep, shooting 49 percent on threes. The Suns, on the other hand, only shot 34 percent. The Mavericks need to get some of their flaws figured out so they can stop relying on outshooting opponents so often.
You can listen to our latest podcast episode in the player embedded below, and to make sure you don’t miss a single one moving forward, subscribe to the Mavs Moneyball podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Pocketcasts, or Castbox.
You can check our our After Dark Recap podcasts, Spotify Live recordings, Moneyball Minute shows, and guest shows on the Mavs Moneyball Podcast feed. Please subscribe, rate, and review.