Dallas heads to phoenix to start round two of the playoffs Monday night. What is your prediction for the series?
Ben: The Dallas defense succeeded against Utah by chasing the Jazz off the 3-point line and into midrange shots and floaters in the paint. Unfortunately, that’s exactly where the Suns like to live. Devin Booker and Chris Paul are midrange kings. Add in Mikal Bridges being able to shut down anyone the Suns choose to have him defend, except maybe Luka Doncic, who he can at least make work, and the Mavericks have quite a challenge ahead of them. I think the Suns win in 5 games, but with Luka, anything is possible.
Matt: Everyone loved Maxi Kleber going 8-for-11 in Game 2, but to make that possible, he had to miss nearly every single three-point shot he attempted in the month of March. It’s called reverting to the mean. In very much the same way, Dallas has been throwing games against the Suns for years now, waiting for this moment. Dallas has lost 9 in a row to Phoenix, dating back to November 2019. They can’t keep losing to them. Cosmically and mathematically, it doesn’t make any sense. The Mavs have made the sacrifice necessary to win this series in 6 games.
Jordan: A really tough series to read. On the one hand the Suns were so absolutely dominant this season and have the kind of personnel that makes life tough on the Mavericks. On the other hand they’ve never faced this version of the Mavericks and Luka Doncic is the best player in the series.
The biggest questions for me: are the Mavericks too tired from their first round series to play a physical one with Phoenix? Can Jalen Brunson keep up his production, now against lengthy perimeter defense? Will DeAndre Ayton be an X-Factor for the Suns? I could see the Mavericks getting swept, I could see them taking it all the way to seven. I want to believe the Mavericks can win in 6, but it will likely be Phoenix that close it out in Dallas.
Scott: Would it be too much for me to predict the Mavericks sweeping the Suns? And to specifically predict Mothers Day Massacre Part 2? And to show that the first round games were all on the exact same days as the 1st round in 2011 (except game 2 2011 was on the 19th instead of the 18th). And then that the first four games of the 2nd round are schedule the exact same days the Mavericks swept the Lakers in 2011?
Matthew: My head absolutely tells me Phoenix will win. They are a better team than Dallas and they employ 4 of the 5 best players in this series. But the Mavericks employ the best player and this is a much better matchup for Spencer Dinwiddie than Utah was. The biggest question is will Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith be able to deal with the condensed schedule better than Chris Paul. The Mavericks have no depth, but with the merciless targeting of Chris Paul that I believe is coming, this is going to be closer than people think. This pick is made with my heart, but Mavericks in 6.
David: Phoenix, at first glance, is not a great matchup for Dallas. They have length, which Brunson has struggled with in the past, size at the center position, and, as good as the Mavericks have been in the clutch, Phoenix has been leagues better. However, when you consider that Mikal Bridges is their only elite defender (Ayton/Booker/Crowder/Johnson are all good team defenders in their own right, just not like Bridges), they simply do not have the firepower to stop the trio of Doncic/Dinwiddie/Brunson. When you realize that Ayton struggles (Editor’s note: I disagree) at defending the pick and roll and Dwight Powell is one of the best at scoring in such a manner, it is clear that the Mavericks offense should have no issues keeping them in games. Every game is going to be close, but this Mavericks team has momentum, and with Brunson being the x-factor, I think the Mavericks will take this series in 7 games.
Kirk: Getting here was all I wanted for this season. This roster has outperformed all my wildest hopes but at some point the bill comes due. Playing just seven players significant minutes may start to catch up with the Mavericks. Their best hope is Luka Doncic plays out of his mind for an entire series which we’ve seen before. I am not picking against the Mavericks but right now the best I can hope for is Mavericks in seven games.