The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Phoenix Suns 130-111 on Monday night in Dallas. Once the Mavericks hit the climax midway through the first quarter, the game was out of question. The Suns were able to mount some short challenges throughout the game, but never scored more than 15 points after the Mavericks’ first-quarter surge. Dallas has put teams back in action on multiple occasions, including the Suns in Game 1 of the season. Not tonight. They persevere for victory.
Luka Doncic led all scorers with 33 points, while also grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out six assists. Josh Green came off the bench and scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 20 points and eight rebounds.
Here are three ideas in play:
Mavericks had energy all night
The Suns are on their second night of back-to-backs and their third in four nights. That should have been the Mavericks’ scheduled win. This season, however, we’ve seen Dallas struggle to win the games they should. Tonight is different. It’s clear from the jump that they have more energy than the Suns, and there won’t be any confusion at all.
The usually slow Mavericks ran up and down the field, especially in the first half. They had 11 fast break points in the first half alone. They are averaging 9.8 points per game this season. They slowed down in the second half, but only on offense. Their defensive intensity remains high, and the Suns’ dead end has resulted in some below-average 3-point shooting. It’s good to see the Mavericks handling things against a tired team.
Phoenix can’t get Dallas to pay for their defensive plan
The Mavericks sent aggressive double-teams on Devin Booker for most of the game, daring the other Suns to beat them. They couldn’t, which forced Booker to shoot inefficiently. In the game, he only scored 11 points on 4 of 13 shots. Booker only made two 3-pointers and was only 1 for 4 at the rim.
With Booker pinned down, the Suns have no one else to create offense for them. Ayton made a lot of shots, but mostly by clearing the rim around the offensive glass or when he misplaced smaller players in the scramble. The Suns are really missing Chris Paul because of a sore heel.
Despite the triumph, the same problem lurks.
The Mavericks won on the road, but they were still outrebounded by a tired Suns. The Suns had more assists. Phoenix owns the paint and beats the Mavericks 46-42, a number that looked closer than it actually was due to garbage time. Dallas mostly won this game by beating the Suns. They shot 52 percent overall compared to the Suns’ 43 percent. And they’re absolutely flammable from long range, shooting 49 percent from three. The Suns, on the other hand, shot just 34 percent. The Mavericks need to figure out some of their flaws so they can stop relying on hitting opponents so often.