Game: Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Mavericks +5.5, Suns -5.5
Phoenix faced some adversity in its first-round series against New Orleans, but the Suns came through beating the Pelicans in six games. The victory moved the Suns one step closer to going back to the NBA Finals. Now, they face the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals. The Mavericks beat Utah in six games to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since they won an NBA title in 2011.
To advance any further, the Mavs will have to do something they haven’t done in quite a while – beat Phoenix. The Suns have won nine straight games against Dallas, including all three that were played this season. Phoenix won all three games by at least seven points, but Luka Doncic did not play in the first two. He did play in the Jan. 20 game and scored 28 points, but the Suns held Doncic to just 39.2 percent shooting from the floor. Doncic had similar trouble in Game 6 against Utah when he shot 38.1 percent from the floor and just 22.2 percent from three-point range.
Doncic is healthy though, which is the key to the Mavericks’ success. He missed the first three games of the Utah series with a strained calf. He returned to average 29 points and 10.3 rebounds per game for Dallas, which has won eight of its last ten games. While Doncic is the key to the Mavs offense, it’s the Dallas defense that is why they have made it this far. The Mavericks are No. 1 in the league in points allowed per game (104.1) and a top-5 team in defensive efficiency. They defend the perimeter as well as anyone and lead the NBA in opponent three-point field goal percentage.
Phoenix was without its leading scorer, Devin Booker for three games too. After playing in Games 1 and 2, Booker returned in the deciding Game 6. Phoenix is healthy and that spells trouble for Dallas as the Suns are the deepest team in the league. Remember, the Suns are a top-5 team in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
In addition to winning nine in a row against the Mavs, the Suns are 7-2 ATS against the Mavs. If you go back 10 more, Phoenix is 15-4 ATS against Dallas. The Suns have won 14 of their last 20 games overall and they are 6-3 ATS in their last nine. The Suns have also won five straight against Dallas at home.
As mentioned, the Mavs are 8-2 SU in their last ten games. They are also 5-0 ATS in their last five and 6-1 ATS in their last seven games on the road. In the three games this season, two of them went Under the total. That’s what happens when the most points scored by either team in the three games was 112 (by Phoenix). In five of its last eight games, Dallas has allowed 100 or fewer points.