NBA Playoff Preview: Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Sunsby Joey Almendras April 30, 2022 0 comments
There is no doubt that Chris Paul’s presence alone will make this series a special one. It’s tough to imagine a Phoenix Suns team without Paul patrolling the court. This series or the rest of the season will ultimately come down to how bad he wants to win it all for the Suns. There has been a sense of “now-or-never” floating around him ever since they lost the title game last year. Even if you hate the Suns, you have to be rooting for Paul deep inside. A player like that deserves to win a ring but Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks stands in the way of Paul’s path for the next several days. Paul has to come up with another phenomenal performance if the Suns want to reach the next round.
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The Mavericks lost all three games against the Suns during the regular season with all games decided by seven or eight points. Those games might not count though because the Mavericks are a different team now. They had Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. back then. Now they’re gone. Porzingis was traded while Hardaway’s sidelined with an injury but the newcomers, Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans, are worthy replacements. The coaching staff will have a lot to say about their opponent. Coaches Jason Kidd, Jared Dudley, and Igor Kokoskov will be coaching against their former team. Kidd played for the Suns in the 1990s, Dudley had two stints with the Suns with the latest one ending in 2018, and Kokoskov was a former Phoenix head coach back in 2019.
Phoenix Suns X-Factor: Jae Crowder
Crowder’s stats won’t stand out if you look at them at first glance but he can still help the team. We don’t know how he does it, but he will always make at least one spectacular play during a game that can start a run or inspire the team. It could be a steal, a block, a three-pointer, a foul, or a timely assist that will somehow charge up the fans and fuel the squad. He plays without fear and can also act as a vicious enforcer. If you play basketball or any team sport, you’d want a player like Crowder to give your team a little bit of edge. Crowder used to play for the Mavericks around eight years ago so that’s added motivation for him.
Dallas Mavericks X-Factor: Dorian Finney-Smith
In the first round of the playoffs, the Mavericks lost twice and those were the games where Finney-Smith only had seven field goal attempts. In the four games they won, he attempted 11 or more shots. If Dallas wants to beat Phoenix, Finney-Smith has to enter the scoring fray and show the Suns that they have another offensive weapon. He can easily give this team around six rebounds, three three-pointers, and three assists per game. It’s a simple formula to follow. Coaches have to eagerly include him in the offense, especially against a dangerous Suns team.
Series Prediction: Phoenix Suns 4 – Dallas Mavericks 2
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