The Suns beat the Lakers Wednesday night in a game that turned out to be closer than expected. The player that has been on a tear as of late was ejected in the second quarter. Nick Young was ejected after throwing a punch at Goran Dragić, this ejection left the Lakers with only seven players to finish the game and it proved too difficult, as the Suns were able to come away with the win 121-114. Gerald Green went 12-18 from the field as he led the Suns with 28 points against the Lakers.
The 23-16 Suns host the 23-17 Dallas Mavericks Friday night. The Mavs are coming off a tough lost Wednesday night to the Los Angeles Clippers 127-129. The Mavericks have been a surprise this year in the Western conference after a disappointing 2012-13 campaign in which they ended with a 41-41 record and missed the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. The team has been much improved this season led by Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis the Mavs are right behind the Suns in the Western conference standings.
Channing Frye versus Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki is averaging 21.3 points per game this season. The Mavs are hanging in the race to make the playoffs only one spot away from the Suns. Nowitzki is healthy this year and playing like he did back in the 2011-2012 season. Frye will need to keep Nowitzki from getting hot and also make sure to get his shots in for the Suns to win Friday night.
Fast break points. The Suns continue to be tops in the league in fast break points. Wednesday night against the Lakers was an example of that as they outscored the Lakers in this category by 26 points. The Suns scored 37 fast break points and had 64 points in the paint. The Mavs were overwhelmed in the fourth quarter in their game against the Clippers. They’ll need to disrupt the Suns quick transitions in order to win Friday night.
What the Suns offense needs to look for:
Go to the hot hand. Gerald Green was 12-18 from the field Wednesday night as he put up 28 points against the Lakers. The Suns just need to feed the hot hand Friday night against the Mavs. Dragić will need to push the ball against a Mavs defense that has trouble with quick guards.
What the Suns defense needs to look out for:
Protect the paint. The Mavs are especially good inside the paint with Dalembert and Nowitzki attacking the boards. The Mavs had 17 offensive rebounds Wednesday night against the Clippers. Those second chance opportunities are momentum killers for defenses.
Los Angeles Laker sleeper to have a good game:
Samuel Dalembert. Dalembert is efficient around the basket and will be a challenge for the Morris brothers, Alex Len and Miles Plumlee. The Suns should avoid giving the Mavs second opportunities around the hoop.
Prediction: The Suns beat Nowitzki and the Mavs 115-110.