Wednesday, March 29, 2023

NBA Preview: Phoenix Suns (35-29) at Dallas Mavericks (33-31)

On Sunday, the Phoenix Suns play a matinee against the Dallas Mavericks, who are trying to win consecutive games for the first time since the All-Star break. This will be the final game of a four-game road trip for the Suns.

Phoenix defeated Chicago 125-104 on Friday, winning for the second time in a row in its second game with Kevin Durant in the lineup. Durant, who was acquired from Brooklyn in a trade last month, scored 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and had six assists against the Bulls.

He made his debut on Wednesday in Charlotte, scoring 23 points and grabbing six rebounds to help the Suns defeat the Hornets 105-91.

Booker scored 37 points in Charlotte and 35 points in Chicago after taking advantage of Durant’s absence in both of the previous two games. Josh Okogie scored 25 points on Friday, making him one of three Phoenix scorers with 20 or more points. Booker and Durant also scored 20 or more points.

Durant played 26:50 and 30:54 minutes in his first two appearances since joining the Suns following an MCL sprain.

Phoenix has a chance to finish its road trip at 3-1 and win three straight when it travels to Dallas. In contrast, the Mavericks are trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since losing three straight on Feb. 10.

Dallas defeated Philadelphia on Thursday by a score of 133-126 to get back on track after suffering consecutive defeats on Sunday to the Los Angeles Lakers and Tuesday to Indiana.

The Mavericks scored 133 points, which was their third-highest total of the season. Since returning from the All-Star break, they have now played two of their three most productive games of the season. They defeated San Antonio by 26 points after the break, scoring 142 points.

A franchise first was also established by Thursday’s victory. The first time two Mavericks have scored at least 40 points in the same game was when Luka Doncic scored 42 points and Kyrie Irving scored 40.

Phoenix’s arrival will pose a challenge to Dallas’ offensive progress as the Suns enter one of their best defensive periods of the season.

On February 26, Phoenix’s road trip began with a three-point loss to Milwaukee. However, in their final game without Kevin Durant, the Suns only allowed 104 points to the Bucks.

Monty Williams, the head coach of Phoenix, stated that the team “played the kind of defense we’re capable of playing” following Friday’s victory.

The Mavs have won two of their three meetings with Phoenix this season, including a 130-111 victory on December 5 in Dallas.

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