The Phoenix Suns will visit the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night for another chapter in what once as a fantastic rivalry. There was a time several years ago when these two teams were battling for supremacy in the West and each meeting produced a thrilling contest. Those days are over as the Mavs swept the Suns last season and have won 10 of their last 12 meetings.
These days the Mavericks are in a bit of a NBA Finals hangover and still adjusting to the newest version of their team after owner Mark Cuban opted for cap space in 2012 over bringing back the group that won him a ring. The Suns are struggling early as they figure out the best combinations of players and hope and pray that Steve Nash can stay consistently healthy and productive.
The Suns (2-4) are coming off their best offensive game of the season, breaking 100 points for the first time in a home win over the Warriors on Monday. Steve Nash was the engine of the offense, scoring a season-high 21 points to go with nine assists. Phoenix shot the ball better overall and beat the Warriors (without David Lee) on the glass.
The Mavericks (2-4) beat the OKC Thunder at home on Monday in an important moral victory for a team that's struggled early but wants to make sure they are still in the hunt come April.
Projected starting lineups:
- Point guard: Steve Nash -- Jason Kidd
- Shooting guard: Jared Dudley --- Delonte West
- Small forward: Grant Hill --- Shawn Marion
- Power forward: Channing Frye -- Dirk Nowitzki
- Center: Marcin Gortat -- Brandon Haywood
- Key subs: Suns (Hakim Warrick, Shannon Brown, Robin Lopez, Markieff Morris, Ronnie Price). Mavs (Jason Terry, Lamar Odom, Vince Carter, Rodrigue Beaubois, Ian Mahinmi)
The Suns, as always, will have their hands full with Dirk but the real key to this game is the bench. The Suns reserves lead the NBA with 46.8 points per game. Some of that is inflated by two blowout losses, but Hakim Warrick and Markieff Morris are both playing well which creates issues for opposing teams. Ronnie Price has also been solid at point and Shannon Brown has shown flashes of being the scoring punch and energy defender the Suns need him to be.
Lacking star power, the Suns plan this season relies on a full team effort.
TV broadcast info:
The game tips at 6:30 p.m. Arizona time with Fox Sports Arizona carrying the TV broadcast and radio on Arizona Sports 620. Bright Side of the Sun will have a live game thread.
Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks Game Preview: Keep it Rolling! - Bright Side Of The Sun
The Suns need to fully utilize their biggest advantage which I believe is at the center position. Gortat and Lopez are a much better tandem than Haywood and Mahinmi...and if the Suns can find a way to score early and often in the paint while also grabbing more rebounds and playing solid defensively, they could dominate in the paint offensively; and force Dallas into low percentage shots while not allowing second-chance opportunities.
For the latest AZ sports, follow us on Twitter @SBNArizona and "Like" us on Facebook.