Here we go again, the Phoenix Suns versus the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns are fresh off of a win against the Lakers, in what was the homecoming for Steve Nash, the Suns will now set their eyes on the Dallas Mavericks, whom of which beat the Suns just a few days ago.
The last time these two teams played the Suns lost of the Mavericks by the final score of 110-95. Phoenix struggled at taking care of the basketball throughout that game, turning the ball over 18 times which led to 23 points for the Mavericks.
Jermaine O’Neal practiced for the first time on Thursday since he was diagnosed with the irregular heartbeat however he will not be in uniform tonight against the Mavericks. Phoenix also has Goran Dragic listed as day day-to-day after he was limited in Thursday’s practice and after practice his left knee along with this left elbow were wrapped up in ice. Suns head coach Lindsey Hunter elaborated that Dragic was just a bit banged up; Dragic is expected to play tonight.
The Dallas Mavericks will be without Center Chris Kaman who suffered a concussion and has left the team to receive further evaluations in Dallas. Dirk Nowitzki will not play in tonight’s game against the Suns after he pulled up a muscle in the game against Portland on Tuesday this will mark the second straight game Nowitzki has sat out.
“It’s just Father Time, bro,” Nowitzki said. “Stuff happens. I never pulled a muscle in my whole career. There’s always a first one.”
The Suns favorited by a 3.5 point margin over the Mavericks tonight according to ESPN.com.
Keys to the game: Suns
- Jump on Dallas early! Without Nowitzki and without Kaman the Mavericks become a much less lethal team and if the Suns can jump on Dallas early on in the game, Dallas may just roll over.
- Beware of Vince Carter. Carter has been red-hot over the last six games averaging nearly 18 points per contest and shooting over 50% from the field not to mention lights out shooting from beyond the arc.
- Take advantage on the boards! The Mavericks were an average rebounding team with Nowitzki and Kaman, without them they’re down right poor! Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola, Markieff Morris has to look to take advantage of that tonight!
Keys to the game: Mavericks
- Give it to Mayo! Without Dirk, Mayo becomes Dallas’ most dangerous offensive weapon. Great play from Mayo directly correlates to Mavericks wins. In Dallas wins Mayo averages 21.7 points on 54% shooting, and in Dallas losses, Mayo averages 15.3 points on 40% shooting.
- Foul trouble. The Mavericks are short-handed in the front court, guys like Shawn Marion, and Elton Brand will need to be disciplined on both ends of the court tonight.
- First to 100? With these two teams playing, scoring 100 points won’t be difficult for either team. The Suns are 8-4 this season when they score 100 points or more. The Mavericks are 16-7 when they score 100 points or more.
Match-up of the night!
- Bench vs. Bench. Both the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns has the privilege of having quality players coming off the bench. It’ll be an interesting battle tonight between these two squads. Both Michael Beasley and Vince Carter has been playing at a high level as of late.