Following a Game 1 where the Suns maintained control of the contest from wire-to-wire, the Mavericks are looking for their next gear in Game 2 on Wednesday. In the initial contest of the series, Phoenix was able to keep Dallas at arm’s length the majority of the game. This includes a 13-point lead at halftime and also a 17-point advantage heading into the final quarter of the game. Though the Mavs were able to close the gap in the final quarter, Phoenix was firmly in control of this game from start to finish. Will that change in Game 2 at the Footprint Center?
For Game 2 of Dallas vs. Phoenix, SBS has you set with our breakdown of the matchup, what to look for from each squad and who will be taking the momentum with them to Dallas for Game 3.
Thanks to a well-rounded team performance in Game 1, the Suns were able to firmly outgun the Mavericks. With All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker (23 points, +6 point differential) back in the lineup, the Suns firmly outpaced the Mavs. While Booker was solid in Game 1, it was actually center DeAndre Ayton who led the way for Phoenix with 25 points and 60% shooting from the field. The former University of Arizona Wildcat also pulled down eight rebounds for the Suns and played 33 effective minutes for his squad.
In terms of other standout performances, veteran point guard Chris Paul knocked down some clutch shots to keep the Mavs at bay and also notched 19 points for the game. In fact, Paul led all players with a +14 point differential. With their stars shining in Game 1, Phoenix kept the pressure applied on Dallas throughout the contest and never trailed in the game. Showing their merit as a true No. 1 seed, the Suns also showed off their depth in the first game of the series with six players in double-figures. With a comfortable seven-point victory in Game 1 of the series, the Suns have a winning formula on their hands if they can keep up the pace.
One player to watch in Game 2 will be starting small forward Mikal Bridges for Phoenix. Bridges had a somewhat quiet night for the Suns in Game 1 with 13 points, but if he is able to ratchet up his three-point shooting, then Phoenix should have an even bigger advantage in Game 2.
Though Phoenix’s overall team performance was the story of Game 1, Dallas’ star point guard Luka Doncic did his best to keep his team in the game. Thanks to a dazzling 45-point effort, the All-Star guard kept the game somewhat close, but still out of reach. Doncic made a remarkable 15 field goals in Game 1, including four three-pointers. While the Slovenian scorer was brilliant in the first game of the series (he also chipped in 12 rebounds), it was still not enough for Dallas. Though Luka had no problem scoring, he perhaps could have been more efficient from three-point land (he was 4-11 on the night) and better with the ball (five turnovers). However, for Game 2 it would appear the game plan needs to be geared around defense and containing the red-hot Suns.
With Doncic leading the way for Dallas and doing the lion’s share of scoring for the Mavericks, his teammates did their best in Game 1, but came up short. Dallas did have some solid performances though behind Doncic with fourth-year power forward Dorian Finney-Smith chipping in 15 points. The Mavs also saw some consistent minutes from their bench players with four players with a positive point differential. Also for Game 1, the Mavericks did actually best the Suns when it came to three-point field-goal percentage (41% to 39.3%). It is also important to remember that head coach Jason Kidd is one of the brightest basketball minds and should have his squad ready for a rebound performance in Game 2.
Prediction: The Mavericks are still looking for their first win of the season against Phoenix, but don’t expect to change in Game 2. Select the Suns to win again at home.
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