Things went pretty well as expected in Game 1 of the series between Phoenix and Dallas.
The Suns jumped on the Mavericks early at home and won pretty easily in a game in which Luka Doncic led all scorers with 45 points. He made half of his shots, which is impressive given the volume, but it still was not enough to get the win.
So the question is, how much is going to change for Game 2, again in Phoenix? The Suns are not a super-team, but they are super consistent and they are able to count on production throughout the lineup. Unless Dallas finds someone other than Luka to get hot, we are looking at a series that will head to Dallas with Phoenix up 2-0.
The oddsmakers are in agreement, too, barely changing the line on this game after Phoenix won and covered at home. If Dallas is going to flip the script, they need Doncic to go nuclear or they need at least another player to be more of a factor.
Dallas Mavericks (0-1) vs. Phoenix Suns (1-0)
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
10:00 p.m. ET
Footprint Center, Phoenix, Ariz.
Spread: Mavericks +6 (-110), Suns -6 (-110)
Moneyline: Mavericks +195, Suns -235
For the Mavs to get back into the series, they have to do a couple of things. For starters, they have to play some defense after allowing 121 points to the Suns in Game 1. That was out of character for a team that finished the season second in the NBA in points allowed.
The other thing they have to do is find some scoring from somewhere, because what we saw in Game 1 only got them so close, and a lot of that was because they closed the game well after Phoenix built a big lead.
Even if the supporting cast of Dallas plays a better game, there are still too many advantages for the Suns, which is why they are still solid favorites. DeAndre Ayton was able to get whatever he wanted inside and that is not going to change, nor is the fact that Mikal Bridges can lock down players such that he was a factor at both ends of the floor.
In the series against New Orleans, the Suns did not get much from forward Jae Crowder. In the opening game of this series, he made three three-pointers though and grabbed eight rebounds. When he is a contributor it makes the Suns that much more dangerous.
Reserve forward Cam Johnson also made three threes and scored 17 points off the bench. The depth that Phoenix has is a major advantage in the series. With Luka back, Spencer Dinwiddie is coming off the bench, and he is not giving them much. He had just eight points in 30 minutes.
I am looking for a similar outcome in Game 2. Look for Phoenix to take control of the game early and ride it out from there without ever being in too much trouble.
They should cover comfortably.
(P.S. Did you notice that I didn’t even mention Devin Booker, who nearly had a triple-double in Game 1? Phoenix just has too much for the Mavs.)