Dallas (29-12) has been great at home in the regular season, but Phoenix (32-9) was even better on the road
The Dallas Mavericks had every reason to believe they could hang with the reigning Western Conference champions when this series began. They had just defeated the Utah Jazz in the first round with star point guard Luka Doncic missing the first three games of the series, and Suns star Devin Booker was dealing with an injury of his own after Phoenix narrowly escaped the New Orleans Pelicans. If ever a No. 1 seed was vulnerable for an upset, it was then and there.
But if the Suns are vulnerable, it certainly hasn’t shown. Booker looks like the All-NBA player he’s been for years thus far in the series. Chris Paul has been even better, and the Suns hold a 2-0 lead in a series that has been only moderately competitive. Now the series shifts back to Dallas, and if the Mavericks are going to put up any sort of a fight, it needs to happen now. Here’s how you can tune in as they attempt to do just that.
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(1) Phoenix Suns @ (4) Dallas Mavericks
- When: Friday, May 6 | 9:30 p.m. ET
- Where: American Airlines Center — Dallas, Texas
- TV: ESPN | Live stream: FUBO TV
- Odds: DAL -110; PHO -110; O/U 218 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns
Mavericks: Luka Doncic might be the best offensive player on the planet. As Phoenix proved in Game 2, that means little if he can’t get stops. The Suns hunted Doncic relentlessly in pick-and-roll, relying in part on the knowledge that he was expending so much energy offensively that he couldn’t hold up on defense. Doncic needs to be better in Game 2, but he also needs some ball-handling help from Jalen Brunson, who has been a disappointment thus far in this series, to make sure he can save some energy for defense.
Suns: Every team would prefer a sweep, but it probably has more practical value to the Suns than it does most teams. Booker is playing well, but hamstrings can be tricky, so getting him rest is essential. The fewer games Paul has to play, the easier it is to limit his injury risk as well. With Golden State and Memphis poised for a lengthy second-round series, the Suns have a chance to earn an extended break. That’s a postseason rarity, but one that would mean quite a bit for the Suns if they can set themselves up for a sweep here.
The line has moved away from Phoenix with the series now in Dallas, but it’s unclear that it should have. The Suns (32-9) had a better record on the road than the Mavericks (29-12) did at home this season. The schematic issues that have dogged Dallas all series are still going to persist. Until Dallas proves it can defend Phoenix, the Suns should be favored in any game they play. The pick: Suns PK