Phoenix Suns vs. Dallas Mavericks Matchup Preview
The race for the final two spots for the 8th seed and play-in team has come all the way down to the very last game of the regular season. The Dallas Mavericks (43-31) will take on the surging Phoenix Suns (33-39) in perhaps Phoenix’s most important game of the season. After barely being invited to the NBA restart, the Suns have rallied off seven straight wins and have put themselves in the thick of playoff contention. With a win against the Mavs and a Grizzlies loss against the Bucks, the Suns would clinch a play-in spot for the 8th seed. However, with four teams still in contention for the final two spots, there are plenty of other scenarios that could play out.
Interestingly enough, the Mavericks controlled the Suns’ destiny following the end of Phoenix’s win over the 76ers. The Mavs lost to Portland last night, who is currently ahead of the Suns, and now plays them in this game. With a loss, the Suns would be eliminated from playoff contention. The Mavericks don’t have anything to worry about or work towards in this game, as they have already clinched the 7th seed in the Western Conference. With that in mind, they may rest some of their starters, which would be very helpful for the Suns’ chances of making the playoffs.
Time: 4:00 PM ET
Arena: HP Field House, Orlando, FL
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Mavericks Starting 5
The Mavericks could’ve helped out the Suns immensely by defeating the Trail Blazers, but unfortunately, they lost by three after Damian Lillard dropped 61 points. Now, the Suns must defeat them in this game to have a shot at making the playoffs. The Mavericks entered the bubble as the 7th seed in the West and have maintained that position the entire time. They would’ve certainly liked to gain more momentum and capture a higher seed, but they’ve had an up-an-down time during the restart. The Mavs are 3-4 in the bubble, with one game remaining on their schedule. Dallas has the best offense statistically in the NBA and technically the best offense in NBA history based on offensive rating. However, their defense is what has been holding them back from winning most of their games. Their defense is rated as the 17th best in the league, which is why they are losing some games. Luka Doncic has been phenomenal for the Mavs this year, averaging 29.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game at only age 21. Thanks to the scoring and playmaking ability of Doncic that this team has such an immaculate offense. With the Suns having a middle of the pack defense, I could see Dallas snapping the Suns’ winning streak and eliminating them from playoff contention. But at the same time, it’s hard to bet against a team that has been playing so well as of late.
Suns Starting 5
On the other hand, this is an absolute must-win game for the Suns. In order to make the playoffs, the Suns would need to win this game and have the Grizzlies or Trail Blazers lose one of their games. However, with a loss, Phoenix’s magical run during the NBA bubble will be in vain. To avoid this from happening, the Suns need to continue playing the brand of basketball that has been working for them. Led by Devin Booker, the Suns have relied on his offense and contributions from several unexpected players. Cameron Payne has been a reliable option off the bench, and Mikal Bridges has been a defensive stalwart for the team. Jevon Carter has also provided meaningful minutes off the bench for Phoenix. Another good sign for the Suns is that they’ve already defeated the Mavs during the NBA restart. The Suns beat the Mavs in a close game by only two points, led by 30 points from Devin Booker. Although Phoenix was victorious in the first matchup against Dallas, it by no means was a convincing win. Depending upon whether the Mavs play all of their starters, the Suns could have a tough time beating this Dallas squad. But, considering how well this team has been playing together recently, I believe that they have a very good chance of being victorious.
76ers vs Suns Fantasy Basketball Angle
For this matchup’s daily fantasy basketball angle, I’m going to pick the guy I’ve highlighted every time I’ve covered a Suns game. Devin Booker is an absolute dog, and he’s finally been able to show it on a bigger stage at the bubble. He has scored exactly 35 points in each of the Suns’ last three games and has been willing this team to victory after victory. After seeing what this man has been capable of, I see no reason not to highlight him for fantasy purposes. He will most likely be guarded by Luka Doncic in this game as well. Although Luka is an all-world offensive player, his defense is by no means anything to write home about. Considering how well Booker and the Suns have been playing recently, I think that Booker would be an excellent choice to start in fantasy considering this matchup. If you have him on your fantasy team, start Devin Booker.
Suns vs Mavericks Betting Odds
Mavericks Odds: +240
Suns Odds: -295
The oddsmakers are favoring the Phoenix Suns in this matchup, which is somewhat surprising to me. As much as I would love to see the Suns win this game and snap their playoff drought, the Mavs are a formidable opponent. I was not expecting the Suns to be favored, but considering how great this team has been playing in the bubble, I understand why. I could see this game going either way quite frankly, but if I had to choose I would take the Suns in this matchup.
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