The Dallas Mavericks will continue to face an uphill battle as they face off against the Western Conference Phoenix Suns in Phoenix. The Suns are coming off a victory in which they were far more dominant than the score appeared. The Mavericks must overcome that dominance.
The Mavericks remain six point underdogs as they were in Game 1. The Mavericks can beat those odds.
Here are the things to watch.
The Mavericks need to get Jalen Brunson matched up with Jae Crowder and let him go to work
This series may end up being a referendum on Brunson’s ability to compete against length but it does not have to be. Crowder is very similar, though better, than Royce O’Neale defensively. They have the same wingspan and similar quickness. Brunson destroyed O’Neale with his quickness and craft in the first round. He will need to do the same to Crowder in this round.
Mikal Bridges will understandably effect Brunson when he is assigned to him. But when Bridges is on Brunson, he isn’t on Luka Doncic or Spencer Dinwiddie. Those are the times for Brunson to be a floor spacer rather than a creator. He has matchups he can attack though and this is one of them.
Luka Doncic’s sustained brilliance
Luka is more ball dominant than some would like but his playoff production is truly insane. It was hilarious to hear Reggie Miller remark how well the Suns were defending him while Luka was in the midst of putting up a stat line, Miller never once recorded in the playoffs in his hall of fame career.
That makes it odd to say but Luka must be even better. He had careless turnovers and passed up multiple open looks at the rim. The Mavericks best chance is for him to be aggressive and get multiple Suns in foul trouble.
Maxi Kleber must start
The Dwight Powell at center lineups are drawing dead against Deandre Ayton at center lineups. Ayton is big and athletic enough to harass Luka and take away the lob. Because Powell can’t shoot or rebound this means he just gets in the way in those lineups. This will also free the Mavericks up to play more pure small ball. That lineup has to play more minutes for the Mavericks to have a chance.
How to watch
The game will tip off at 9:00 pm CST and can be seen on TNT or Bally Sports Southwest.