A new NBA season is here, with the Phoenix Suns out to make amends for last season’s playoff exit. What better way to do that than starting out with a victory against the team that flat out embarrassed them, the Dallas Mavericks.
Both teams have had undesirable offseasons; Phoenix mostly from an offcourt perspective with the Robert Sarver investigation, while Dallas lost their second-best player in Jalen Brunson. The Suns went 1-3 in preseason while the Mavericks went 2-1 against low-level competition in Oklahoma City, Orlando and Utah.
The Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks renew their rivalry at Footprint Center on Wednesday, with the season opener set to tip-off at 7pm PT.
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds
Phoenix Suns (-188) Dallas Mavericks (+158)
Total Points: 216
*Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Expected Starting Lineups
Dallas Mavericks: Spencer Dinwiddie, Luka Doncic, Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith, Javale McGee
Phoenix Suns: Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Deandre Ayton
Cameron Johnson has recovered from a preseason finger injury to take his place in the Suns starting lineup. Spencer Dinwiddie replaces Brunson after his departure, while former Sun Javale McGee seems to have beaten out Christian Wood and Maxi Kleber for the starting five spot.
Dallas: Davis Bertans, Frank Ntilikina and Tyler Dorsey (out), Maxi Kleber (probable)
Phoenix: Landry Shamet (out), Jae Crowder (not with team)
Two aspects to watch
1. Mikal Bridges v Luka Doncic
Doncic is enemy number one in Phoenix after delivering the devastating playoff loss. It was Jae Crowder, not Bridges, who was the primary defenders on the Mavericks superstar during that series.
Crowder’s now away from the team and regardless, as the runner up for Defensive Player of the Year, Bridges needs to take on the responsibility. Doncic’s favoritism for MVP is obviously due to how special he is as a player, but it’s also down to how much his team relies on him. If Bridges and the Suns can contain him to an average or below average game, for his incredibly high standard, then that bodes well for a Phoenix victory.
2. Bench Scoring
While the Mavericks heavily reliance on Doncic is high, you could also argue they have the better bench — which says more about the Suns lack of depth. Wood is capable of producing 20 and 10, far more than any Phoenix bench option. If the Suns can limit the bench scoring differential, then again, that could forecast a win.
The entire game really depends on whether the Suns face residual effects from the playoff loss. The home side have the much more talented starting five, but Doncic is a one-man threat who can conquer any team on his day.
Dallas can also get hot-and-cold from deep, with a heavy reliance on their perimeter shooting as a result of Doncic’s drive and kick game. Phoenix will back themselves to force enough contested jump shots in order to churn out a tough, hard-fought win.
Final Score: Suns win 112-108