On Wednesday night the Dallas Mavericks played the Phoenix Suns on the road in their first regular season game of the season. The Mavericks are coming off a 129-127 defeat against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday completing the preseason with a record of 2-1. The Mavericks look to start the season in the win column in the very competitive western conference.
On Thursday, the Mavericks built a fifteen point lead late in the game before the Minnesota Timberwolves came storming back to force overtime and ultimately steal a win from the Mavericks. The Mavericks were coming into the regular season shooting 42.4 percent from the field.
The Phoenix Suns were coming into this game without winning a single game in the preseason. Don’t be fooled by that record as these Suns ended last season 8-0 in the NBA bubble and looking to build off of that. The Phoenix Suns were looking to give Devin Booker some much needed help in the offseason and they did by adding some notable players that include Chris Paul and Jae Crowder. Devin Booker is coming off a season in which he averaged 26.6 points per game, which is good enough for fourth among shooting guards. Last season, the Suns finished with a 34-39 in the Covid-shortened season and hopes to start the season where they left off in the NBA bubble.
Entering this game versus the Suns, the Mavericks only beat the Suns once in four meetings last season with the only win coming on November 29, 2019. Luka Doncic averaged 30.3 points per game while Devin Booker averaged 26.8 points per game against each other last season. Overall, the Phoenix Suns lead the all-time series with a record of 88-74 against these Mavericks with the Suns winning 10 of the last 13 meetings. The Mavericks will play these Suns only two more times after this matchup.
The Mavericks started this game slow by missing their first six shots of the game with Josh Richardson getting the first points of the season to stop the Suns early 7-0 run. Luka Doncic started this game rusty by going 0-6 to begin the game. The Mavericks defense played a critical part to keep them in this game early by forcing six turnovers and create foul problems for the Suns otherwise it was going to be a long night for these Mavericks. The Mavericks were fortunate to be trailing by one as they ended on a 5-0 run with the Suns leading 23-22 to end the first quarter. The Mavericks shot a subpar 28 percent from the field.
The Suns got things going in the second quarter by going on a early 6-0 run before Rick Carlisle saw enough and called a timeout in hopes of getting the offense going. The move didn’t work quite as much as the Mavericks struggled to get things going on offense. The Suns were able to stretch their lead to 10 points thanks to poor transition defense from the Mavericks. Devin Booker finished the half scoring 13 points on 5-6 shooting from the field but it was Mikal Bridges stealing the show for the Suns by scoring 15 points for the Suns. The Mavericks closed the half shooting 31.9 percent from the field. If it wasn’t for the Mavericks defense, this game would’ve been a huge blowout. Luka Doncic was able to get in some type of rhythm finishing with 13 points at the half after going 0-6 to begin the game. This was not the type of start everyone had hoped for to begin this season. The Mavericks found themselves trailing 53-45 at the half.
Coming out of the half, the Mavericks were able to cut the lead within three points thanks to a Dorian Finney-Smith three point jumper early in the third quarter. Luka Doncic was able to give the Mavericks the lead on a free-throw for the first time since the early stages of this game with the team going on a 7-0 run before the Suns stopped it and regained the lead. The Mavericks were able to cut the lead within two points late in the quarter before Mikal Bridges hit a corner three as the Suns ended on a 6-2 run. Luka Doncic started to heat up by taking over the third quarter scoring 11 of the Mavericks 26 points in the quarter. However, it was the Suns that found themselves leading 77-71 at the end of the third quarter.
After trailing for most of the game, the Mavericks were able to tie this game at 96 thanks to a Willie Cauley-Stein dunk with 3:37 left in the game. Give the Mavericks credit for battling throughout this game despite their offensive woes. The Mavericks were able to tie this game once again at 100 thanks to a pair of Luka Doncic free-throws with under two minutes to play. However, it was the Chris Paul and Devin Booker show late in the game to put this game away for good as the duo hit a pair of clutch shots. The Mavericks did everything they could to battle back and to make this a game.
In the end, the Mavericks simply couldn’t catch up to these Suns as the offense struggled for the Mavericks as they suffered a 106-102 loss to the Suns. Luka Doncic finished the game with 32 points as he struggled shooting the ball in the early parts of this game. The Phoenix Suns came to play with three of the five starters scoring in double digits with Devin Booker leading the team with 22 points. The Mavericks finished this game shooting 36-85 (42.4%) from the field and 9-37 (24.3%) from behind the 3-point arc.
This team needs to do better on offense by getting off to fast starts as they shot an ugly 42.4 percent from the field in the game. The Mavericks looked good on defense at times but it wasn’t enough to overcome the struggling offense. They were able to comeback and tie game at various parts of the game but they couldn’t simply build themselves a lead. This was a game for the Mavericks to take but they couldn’t get the job done which resulted in their first loss of the season.
The Mavericks look to continue their road trip with a matchup against the defending NBA champion, Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day. The Lakers are coming off a 116-109 defeat against the Los Angeles Clippers on opening night that saw Paul George scoring 33 points against the Lakers. LeBron James will enter this game versus the Mavericks with an apparent ankle injury suffered against the Clippers and it’s something to lookout for. Overall, this is certainly a game you don’t want to miss as Luka Doncic will go head-to-head against LeBron James. This will be the second time in Mavericks history that the Mavericks will open the season with a three game trip with the last happening in 2015.