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3 thoughts before Mavericks vs Suns Game 4

Time to even the series

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

I had every intention of searching through the Maverick playoff history and see what games they’ve played on Mother’s Day throughout their 40 years in Dallas.

Then the puppy we’d adopted came home a day early. So I didn’t do that.

Instead, I’m remembering just one Mother’s Day Massacre, in 2011. It was the close out game where Jason Terry went bananas and Andre Bynum committed assault. Compared to what some of the flagrant fouls we’ve seen this postseason. This game won’t be anything like that game, I suspect. After all the stakes are different, with our Mavericks hoping to tie the series then make it a best 2 out of 3 contests. Currently the Mavs are 2.5 point underdogs.

Anywhere, here’s some of what I’m thinking about prior to Game 4.

Can Luka Doncic strike the right balance?

This is a question with layers. On a tactical level, can Doncic figure out when he should attack the rim and when should be settle for a three. Though three contests, Luka is shooting 11 of 28 from distance, though a few of his makes really helped balance his stats (for example, he was 2 of 9 in Game 1, then hit two threes after the game was well decided). Doncic was a force in the post on Friday evening, so I’d love to see him be one again, and even if he gets a big switched on to him. Doncic can get a step back at any point.

On a second level, Luka needs to find a way to balance his emotions. How he did not pick up a technical foul in Game 3 is beyond me, he was using lots of inappropriate (English) language along with some hand gestures to the crowd that I suspect might still get him in to trouble. Doncic feeds off crowd energy and trash talk but there were moments Friday where things got a bit out of control.

Where are the energy levels?

This is the fourth game in seven days for both teams and the turn around between Game 3 and 4 isn’t fair considering the breaks the other playoff teams got. Alas, those are the breaks sometimes.

While Luka Doncic didn’t play the minutes we expected due to foul trouble, both Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock notched 41 minutes, continuing their high volume minutes performances.

The Suns have less to worry about, they have a deep team. But Chris Paul is still 37 years old, so one has to wonder how he’s feeling.

Role players exceeding expectations

For the Mavericks, Maxi Kleber has resumed looking like a high level stretch five. In the Friday game, he hit a three, dunked off the dribble and took a pull up two point shot that ended up being a bank shot make.

Meanwhile, Jae Crowder continues to look like the sharpest of shooters, hitting 11 of 18 from three for the series. If Crowder goes dry (please stop making shots, it makes me crazy), then the Suns will need one of their other 10,000 roll players to hit shots. We’ll see what they can do.

How to Watch

Game 4 is on ESPN at 2:30 pm CST, but that probably means a tip off around the 2:45 mark because why would the game start when the league says it will start?

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If you haven’t heard our lasted Moneyball Minute, click here to listen Or seek out the Mavs Moneyball podcast on your favorite podcast player. It’s also embedded below.