The Dallas Mavericks open their 2020-21 NBA campaign on the road against the Phoenix Suns at the Phoenix Arena on Wednesday night.
Dallas finished the 2019-20 campaign with a 43-32 record and they ended up as the 7th seed in the West. Phoenix meanwhile, finished the regular season with a 34-39 record. The Suns were among the teams invited to the Bubble Tournament in Orlando and they were the only undefeated team there with an 8-0 record.
The Mavs are coming off a season where they finished 7th in the Western Conference team standings and where they lost to the L.A. Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. Despite the loss, Luka Doncic’s performance in the postseason proved that he is ready for the big stage. However, Dallas will have to open the season without Kristaps Porzingis who is out with a season-ending injury. The Latvian unicorn is expected to be back in January 2021.
Doncic was a walking triple-double last season as he put up 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game in only his second season in the league. The 2019 Rookie of the Year also earned his first All-Star nod and was named to the All-NBA First team. Doncic was electrifying during the postseason where he set several records and now he is the odds on favorite to win the 2021 NBA MVP award. However, Dallas will be without Kristaps Porzingis who suffered a season-ending knee surgery. The Latvian unicorn averaged 20.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game last season. Tim Hardaway Jr. will be back after averaging 15.8 points per game last season.
The Mavericks were the third highest-scoring team in the NBA last season at 117.0 points per game. They were also 4th in rebounding at 46.9 boards pulled down per contest. Dallas was 16th in scoring defense at 112.1 points per game allowed and they were 14th in passing at 24.7 assists per game.
The Suns were the hottest team at Disney World last season. Phoenix won all of their eight seeding games and nearly sneaked in the playoffs. Despite failing to make the postseason for the 10th consecutive time, the Suns head to this season optimistic because of their improved play during the bubble tournament. The Suns acquired point guard Chris Paul from the OKC Thunder during the offseason and they also added swingman Jae Crowder to bolster their rotations.
Like Doncic on the other side, Devin Booker is also coming off his best season ever and his first All-Star game appearance. The Suns’ guard averaged 26.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game last season. DeAndre Ayton missed the start of the season due to a suspension but when he was on the floor, he put up a double-double of 18.2 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. With Chris Paul now running the show, Booker and Ayton should get better scoring opportunities this season.
Phoenix ranked 10th in the league in scoring last season at 113. 6 points per game. They were just 20th in scoring defense at 113.4 points per game allowed and 21st in rebounding at 43.5 boards grabbed per contest.The Suns were the number one passing team in the NBA at 27.2 assists per game last season.
Dallas is 2-6 SU in their last eight games played. The Mavs are 5-0 SU in their last five games played on a Wednesday. Phoenix is 8-0 SU in their last eight games played. The Suns are 5-1 SU in their last six games played against the Western Conference, but 1-7 SU in their last eight Wednesday games. Head to head, the Suns are 7-3 SU in their last 10 games played against the Mavericks.
The Dallas Mavericks have an ace under their sleeve. Luka Doncic is the oddsmakers betting favorite to win the 2020 NBA MVP award. This after the Slovenian sensation had a spectacular playoff debut at the Orlando Bubble. Despite criticism about his conditioning during the preseason, Doncic looked in terrific shape and he should be ready to lead the Mavs to victory.
However, Dallas will be without Porzingis until at least January 2021 and that could be a problem here.
Phoenix was the hottest team in the bubble and barely missed the playoffs. But they head to this game with eight consecutive wins and with a brand new point guard in Chris Paul. With Paul running the show, young stars Booker and Ayton should have better scoring opportunities. Paul though is listed as day to day with a right ankle injury but even if CP3 is a no-go here, I think Dallas is missing more without Porzingis than the Suns are without Paul. Give me the Suns to send an early message to the league.
Prediction: Phoenix Suns
The Mavs are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games played. Dallas is 2-7 ATS in their last nine games played on the road. The Suns are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games played. Phoenix is 6-0 ATS in their last six games played at home. Head to head, the Suns are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games played against the Mavericks. The Suns are also 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games played against the Mavericks.
The Mavericks are expected to be one of the top teams in the West this season but until they get Porzingis back, Luka’s going to do a lot of heavy lifting. That will work against other teams but not Phoenix which has improved its lineup during the offseason. The addition of Chris Paul lets Devin Booker focus more on scoring, which is his specialty. Paul should also help get Ayton better looks on the court. Dallas has not played well on the road against the Suns. Phoenix has also covered in 19 out of their last 26 meetings against Dallas. I like where the Suns are at in this game.
Prediction: Suns -1
The total has gone over in four out of the last five games played by the Mavericks. Dallas has seen the total go over in four out of their last five games played against the Western Conference, and 4-1 in their last five games played against the Pacific Division. The total has gone over in eight out of the last 12 games played by the Suns. The over is also 5-1 in Phoenix’s last six December games. Head to head, the over is 3-2 in the last five meetings between these two teams.
Points have been aplenty in the last meetings between these two teams as they have combined for 233 points per game in their last three head-to-head meetings. The Mavs had one of the best offenses in the league last season at 117 points per game and their numbers didn’t drop even when Porzingis went down with an injury. Phoenix averaged 113.6 points per game last season and with Chris Paul orchestrating, they should be a better scoring team. Dallas was also just 16th in scoring defense last season so CP3 should be able to find plenty of holes. I like these teams to hit the over.
Prediction: Over 235.5
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