Dallas Mavericks vs Phoenix Suns 5/4/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns Matchup Preview (5/4/22)

The Dallas Mavericks (0-1) face the Phoenix Suns (1-0) in Game 2 on Wednesday night. Dallas lost 121-114 in Game 1, but it wasn’t because of a lackluster performance from Luka Doncic. He torched Phoenix for 45 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists on a 50 FG% and 36.3 3PT%. Jalen Brunson scored 13 points and facilitated 3 assists, but he shot a 37.5 FG%. Dorian Finney-Smith played a solid game, as he went for 15 points and 6 rebounds. Off the bench, Maxi Kleber made 5 of 8 threes and finished with 19 points. The Mavericks offense was efficient with Doncic at the helm, but the defense struggled to contain Phoenix. However, it wasn’t as bad as it looked because the Suns made tough shots at a higher rate than was expected. They outperformed their ShotQuality score by 11 points and were expected to lose 65% of the time based on shot selection. Dallas still needs to tighten up their defense, yet there is hope for them. 

The Suns started the series off well by consistently making difficult shots. Deandre Ayton paced the team in scoring with 25 points on 12/20 shooting, and he also grabbed 8 rebounds. Devin Booker flirted with a triple-double; he produced 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. Floor general Chris Paul only had 3 assists, yet he managed 19 points, 5 rebounds, and only 1 turnover. Bridges, Crowder, and Johnson combined for 41 points on 7/14 from deep. In their First Round matchup against the Pelicans, those three averaged 35.8 PPG on 21/69 (30.4%) from deep. Phoenix grabbed 6 more offensive rebounds and had 11 more assists than the Mavericks. The ball movement was great, and the offense was balanced. A huge win for the Suns in Game 1 was Chris Paul only having to play 28 minutes. He is 36-years-old and has a history of getting injured in the playoffs. Preserving his body will be extremely beneficial for potential future series. 92.9% of teams have won the series after going up 2-0, so the Suns will be in great shape if they can take Game 2 as well.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns Betting Odds

The spread for Game 2 is -6 Suns, which was the same line in Game 1. I like the Suns to barely cover this and win by 7-9 points. Luka is the best player on the court, but Phoenix has the next four best players in this series. They have the chemistry advantage along with home-court advantage. I trust the Phoenix offense and defense to show up more consistently than the Mavericks. If it goes to crunch time, the Suns were statistically one of the most clutch teams in NBA history this season. The only factor that keeps this game close for me is Luka Doncic. 

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TV Schedule

Date: 5/4/22
Time: 10:00 PM ET
Arena: Footprint Center – Phoenix, AZ
Channel: TNT

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Dallas Mavericks Starting Lineup

PG: Luka Doncic
SG: Jalen Brunson
SF: Reggie Bullock
PF: Dorian Finney-Smith
C: Dwight Powell

Dallas Mavericks Analysis

There is usually a good argument to be made for more ball movement and an offense not dominated by one person, but I don’t think this is the case. Luka is so special when he dominates the ball, and the vast majority of the roster is composed of catch and shoot threats. Phoenix’s defensive game plan seems to be centralized around cutting off Doncic’s help and allowing him to score 35-40 points on huge volume. This scenario actually plays into Dallas’ hands since they are at their best with Luka isolating on one defender. Jalen Brunson is the only other capable ball handler in the starting unit who could create off the dribble. He could introduce some diversification into the offense, but I don’t think he should be close to splitting ball handling time with Luka. Dallas could stagger him more considering Dinwiddie is not performing well as the bench ball handler. 

Phoenix made tough shots, but the Mavericks defense also underperformed in Game 1. Dwight Powell doesn’t provide enough rim protection, and he was getting played off the court. Without Powell, Dallas does not have a playable center who can provide some interior defense. Ayton poses a huge problem since he’s an excellent offensive center in the paint. Their perimeter defense can improve in Game 2, but I am worried about Ayton if I am the Mavericks. 

Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup

PG: Chris Paul
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Deandre Ayton

Phoenix Suns Analysis

Dallas was 3rd in turnovers and 10th in opponent FTA during the regular season. Phoenix cannot expect to get easy points off of turnovers and from the charity stripe in this series. They need to run their offense from the pick and roll and get consistent production there. With Booker, Bridges, and Crowder waiting on the perimeter, the Mavericks cannot shade inside too much. With Paul operating in the mid-range off the pick and Ayton rolling to the basket, Phoenix has two legitimate threats inside the three-point line. The Suns need to place more emphasis on this duo and aggressively go after the Mavericks interior defense. The perimeter shooting can come and go, but Paul and Ayton rarely struggle on their shots. The Suns still need to kick it out to shooters, but they should be an inside-out team, instead of an outside-in team. 

Phoenix didn’t want to double Doncic and allow him to swing it for an open shot. It’s understandable why they want to employ this strategy, but they must be careful and ready to adapt. Luka shot a 50 FG% and 36.3 3PT%, yet he arguably could have been better. If Doncic is torching them, they cannot be stubborn with their defense. I would rather lose to a clean look from Reggie Bullock than a constant stream of Doncic isolation buckets.

Braxton has been writing for Lineups since December 2021 with the majority of his articles focused on the NBA. He is currently a senior at the University of Pennsylvania where he has spent the last few years working with various UPenn athletics teams and contributing to the UPenn Sports Analytics Group.

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