The Phoenix Suns face Dallas in a Southern showdown of two tired teams. The Mavericks lost in overtime to the Toronto Raptors, while the Suns prevailed against the Nuggets in the Mile-High City. Both teams have to travel for the second half of the back-to-back, but the Suns have the upper-hand.
They are more balanced with younger players than Dallas. Old vets Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion as well as their other best player Monta Ellis all played over 40 minutes last night, and they still had to travel to Phoenix. Dragic was the only player to play 40 minutes form the Suns last night, with the next two being Markieff Morris and Eric Bledsoe with 30 minutes apiece. However, this Suns squad is much younger and got to sleep in their own houses last night.
Additionally, the Suns are coming off an invigorating comeback victory over a playoff team, so their spirits are higher than the Mavs veteran team that lost to a lesser team in overtime at home.
Dirk Nowitzki versus Miles Plumlee. This defensive assignment will be much different than he’s used to. Nowitzki won’t back you down too far or try to get too far off the ground. He’ll just get to his spot, back you down a couple feet, then do his signature one-legged fadeaway off one leg, draining it in your face. Just try to make it hard on him. Make him work for it. And please don’t give Dirk a pull-up jumper in transition from the top of the arc, he will always make them!
What the Suns offense needs to focus on:
Get Plumlee involved early, so Nowitzki has to exert energy on defense, leaving less for offense. Maybe he’ll get in foul trouble. Keep the ball moving. Try to get P.J. Tucker involved more.
What the Suns defense needs to watch out for:
They can’t let both Ellis and Nowitzki go off. One or the other, and make it as difficult as possible. Also, keep “the Matrix” (former Sun Shawn Marion) off the offensive boards.
Mavericks player who could make a surprise impact:
36-year-old Vince Carter, who was briefly on the Suns roster, seems to always have good games against us, so don’t let him get going.
Suns player who could make a surprise impact:
Miles Plumlee hasn’t scored very much lately, but with his athleticism, I could see him having a double-double against Nowitzki.
Suns win 99-91 and move to 16-10 on the season.