The playoffs are underway and the daily preview takes it to the rim with NBA tips for Game 1 of the Semi-final series Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks.
12:00 (AEST), Tue 3rd May @ Footprint Center, Phoenix
History: Played 180: Suns 100 V Mavericks 80
Last meeting: January 20, 2022: Suns 109 d Mavericks 101 at American Airlines Arena
Final Thoughts: Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks both emerged from hard-fought First Round series in six games. After three days’ rest, the rivals square off in Game 1 of a fascinating Western Conference Semi-final rubber.
The NBA-leading Suns had more trouble than expected with eighth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans, who squared up the series at 2-all with Phoenix hampered by the absence of Devin Booker from an injury sustained midway through Game 2.
But the Suns grabbed a crucial 112-97 win in Game 5 with Mikal Bridges scoring 31 points. They closed it out in New Orleans in Game 6 with a 115-109 result. Booker (13 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast) returned but it was veteran guard Chris Paul (33 pts, 8 reb) – who shot 14-of-14 from the floor – who had the biggest say.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks took a 2-1 lead over Utah Jazz despite Luka Doncic missing the first three games. Jalen Brunson dropped 41 points in Game 2 and 31 points in Game 3 as the Mavs carved out impressive wins.
Doncic returned with 30 points in a one-point Game 4 loss, then led the Mavs to an emphatic 102-77 win in Game 5 with 33 points and 13 rebounds. Brunson and Doncic had 24 points each as they booked a Semi-final berth with a 98-96 victory in Salt Lake City. It was the franchise’s first playoff series success since winning the Championship in 2011.
Suns on three-season streak against Mavs
The Suns are on a nine-game winning streak against the Mavericks, winning all three clashes this season by 7+ margins. Doncic missed the first two encounters, before returning with 28 points and 8 assists in a 112-104 loss in Dallas which saw the Suns – led by Booker (28 pts, 6 ast) and Paul (20 pts, 11 ast) – overturn an eight-point three-quarter time deficit. These games were all before the Mavs traded away Kristaps Porzingis and brought in Spencer Dinwiddie, who has gelled superbly with his new team.
Arguably the biggest key for the Mavs here is being able to combat Suns big man Deandre Ayton, who is coming off a dominant offensive series against the Pels. Dallas are undoubtedly outmatched there. Phoenix are also much better equipped defensively to limit Luka’s effectiveness.
The Suns are 34-10 at home this season (21-23 ATS). The Mavericks went 23-18 on the road in the regular season and are 2-1 so far in the playoffs, for an overall 27-17 ATS record as the away team.
With Phoenix’s two home wins in the First Round coming by double-digit margins, I’m leaning towards the Suns covering in Game 1 with Booker somewhere near fully fit as they look to set the tone.
Best Bet: Handicap – Suns -5.5 @ $1.87