The Dallas Mavericks have roared back to tie the series versus the Phoenix Suns despite appearing overmatched in the first two games of the series. The Mavericks were downright dominant defensively in Dallas and they got key contributions from multiple sources after being overly dependent on Luka Doncic in Phoenix.
Despite the Mavericks success at home, they are six point underdogs per Draftkings. That is concerning as the team that opened the game as the betting favorite is 4-0 in this series.
Here are the things to watch.
Will the Mavericks defense travel?
Dallas is allowing 113 points per game in five road games this postseason. They have allowed 95 points per game in five home games this postseason. The Mavericks have relied heavily on the energy from the fans at the American Airlines center who have been fantastic(with the exception of the incident with Chris Paul’s family). The Mavericks are going to have to provide their own energy and match that defensive output in Phoenix in order to have a chance to close out the series at home.
The Mavericks need Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson both at their best
Luka was absolutely dominant offensively in the first six quarters of this series. But he had to do too much and wore down. Brunson has been much better in the last two games but Luka has been diminished. Brunson has to take some of the load of creation, but the Mavericks will need the return of playoff Luka in order to be at their best. If both playmakers are at their best, the Mavericks will win this game.
The Mavericks must continue to attack the Suns’ star guards
Both Devin Booker and Chris Paul are good defenders. But they are so important to the Suns’ offense that it is important for the Mavericks to continue to attack them. Paul succumbed to foul trouble in Game 4. The Mavericks attacked Booker relentlessly in both Games 3 and 4. Luka is much too big for Booker and Brunson is too quick. Both are too strong for Paul.
The Mavericks need to continue to make the Suns’ stars work on both ends the same way a boxer attacks an opponents’ body early in a fight. Attacking a big on a switch might be a slightly more efficient play but it does not have the added benefit of taxing the Suns’ stars.
The Mavericks have a chance to take control of this series if they can do these things. If they do, they will be one win away from the conference finals.
How to watch
The game will tip off at roughly 9 pm. CST and can be seen on TNT or Bally Sports Southwest.
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