Preview: Dallas Mavericks (15-11) vs. Phoenix Suns (15-10)

Posted by on December 21st, 10:00 am

Time: 7 p.m. MST






The Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks match-up for the first time this season at the US Airways Center, and both are coming off close games last night. The Mavericks lost by one in overtime to the Toronto Raptors, and the Suns came from behind in Denver after trailing by 21 to win 103-102.

The Mavericks are still led by the ageless Dirk Nowitzki and his 21.1 points per game. But outside of him, Dallas is looking for consistency after last year’s patient attempt to build the squad back into a playoff contender following the 2011 title run. Former Sun Shawn Marion is still playing big minutes for them, but otherwise, it’s a brand new team. Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis were brought in during the summer as their starting guards and are both playing well, and as long as the Mavs have Nowitzki hanging around, they’ll be a tough foe.

How does the Suns starting unit respond?

The Suns starters played a very small role in their come-from-behind win against Denver, unless you take into account that they were the reason they were down so much in the first place. The starting five only scored 39 of the teams 103 points and only Goran Dragic and P.J. Tucker played big minutes in the fourth quarter. Discounting Dragic, Markieff Morris (25) outscored the other Suns starters’ output combined. They just came out flat last night, which happens, and luckily the bench was able to bail them out. I would expect a strong bounce-back effort from the entire starting unit.

Does Monta Ellis catch fire?

Ellis likes to shoot…. a lot. He has only taken less than 14 shot attempts three times this season, and two of those instances came recently. But, the point is that Ellis will shoot the rock and he does it well averaging over 20 points per game. With that said, there will be nights when Ellis shoots his team out of games like his 2-for-16 performance against Golden State. If the Suns can keep Ellis around or below that 20 point average, they should be in good shape to win.

Does the back-to-back favor young legs, old legs, or neither?

Both teams will be traveling into Phoenix after their games on Friday night, and Dallas lost to Toronto in overtime. The Mavericks are one of the older teams in the league with an average age over 28 and the Suns are one of the younger with a 25 average age. The veterans of the Mavs such as Nowitzki, Marion and Vince Carter are all over the age of 35 with Marion and Nowitzki playing more than 40 minutes last night. If the Suns can turn this into a fast-paced back and forth game they could run them out of the gym.

Jeffrey Sanders

Jeffrey Sanders is a ValleyoftheSuns staff writer currently working toward his degree in broadcast journalism at Arizona State University. He is also involved in on-campus groups, such as the Blaze 1330 AM and


Tags: Phoenix Suns

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 vtsunrise // Dec 21, 2013 at 10:27 am

    “If the Suns can turn this into a fast-paced back and forth game they could run them out of the gym.”

    - I agree. Sometimes things can be pretty simple. I like their odds better if they’re counting on hustle rather than 3-pt or 2-pt jump-shooting accuracy.

    I think the ice-cold starters (from last night) won’t have a cold start tonight. Should be fun.

    Oops. I said the “f” word.

  • 2 hawki // Dec 21, 2013 at 11:29 am

    The Suns are knocking
    on the Penthouse Door
    Last Night was thrilling
    Can we have some more ?

  • 3 foreveris2long // Dec 21, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Hawki I didn’t know you subscribed to Penthouse. I am not mad at ya

  • 4 VK1 // Dec 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    We need Emeka Okafor!!! We need him for 5 good games, then we can ship him to Brooklyn for a first round pick. Sucks for BLopez and the Nets.

    Any clue if Okafor will return this yr?

  • 5 Rengaw // Dec 21, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Bledsoe and Fry should have fresh legs. If we work some hard D on Dirk and Ellis, we can take the Mav’s out….would be quite a feather in the Sun’s cap to beat Denver and Dallas back to back, as they are the two teams breathing down our necks in the standings.

  • 6 Rengaw // Dec 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    What is the status of Okafor? Do you think Horny would like this guy available now that the Suns are able to play with the big boys?

  • 7 EBJM // Dec 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Okafur is suffering from a herniated disk in his neck. Before the trade he was rehabilitating and recovering under the supervision of a cervical spine specialist in New York, where he has a home.

    Does any of the staff writers know if he is now rehabilitating in Phoenix with the Suns World famous trainers?

    Does anyone think he could pull a Robin Lopez type of recovery for the playoffs like Lopez did against the Lakers in 2010?

    Can Okafur fill the void in the post at PF?

    Does anyone think he will even be a Sun come playoff time?

  • 8 EBJM // Dec 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    So I can’t ask about Okafur? Interesting.

  • 9 BUTLER // Dec 21, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Overcoming the best SF in the NBA (The Matrix), who single-handedly destroyed Coby+Durant+LeBron en route to a championship, will be as difficult as ever.

    Marion never agreed that he was worth trading for the likes of Shack. Even if it did bring Shawn a title. He has played extra hard vs. the Suns ever since, just to give his middle finger to Sarver.

    However if Ish Smith is given some of Bledsoe’s minutes, then the Suns can prevail.

  • 10 Kevin Zimmerman // Dec 21, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    From everything I read when the Suns acquired Okafor about his injury, the fact the team didn’t introduce him and the fact he’s not with the team, seems pretty clear Okafor’s next sighting will be in free agency this summer.

  • 11 Scott // Dec 21, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    @EBJM -

    If you got a “moderation” message, that happens randomly.

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