Mavericks vs. Suns Game 2 Preview: Will Chris Paul & Co. Cruise at Home?

Raheem Palmer previews Game 2 of the Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns series, including his betting pick in the matchup.

Mavericks vs. Suns Odds

Mavericks Odds +6
Suns Odds -6
Over/Under 216
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

After a grueling six-game series against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Phoenix Suns showed why they’ve been the best team in the league all season with a 121-114 win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, a game that was never as close as the final score indicated.

Despite the dominant win, oddsmakers haven’t adjusted the spread or total much for Game 2. The Suns opened as 6-point favorites with a total of 216 as they once again host the Mavericks before the series shifts to Dallas for Games 3 and 4.

So where’s the betting value for this pivotal game 2? Let’s analyze both sides and find out!

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Mavericks Need More Fro Supporting Cast

After defeating the Utah Jazz in the first round, the Mavericks got a wake up call on what it takes to be a contender in this league.

While the Mavericks were able to hold the Jazz to just 0.99 points per possession throughout their six game series, their defense completely failed them in Game 1 against the Suns where they allowed 121 points on 1.28 points per possession.

Defense was expected to be a problem in this series — the Mavericks allow the 25th-highest frequency of mid-range jump shots against while the Suns rank first in mid-range frequency (41.7%) and field goal percentage (48.1%).

The Mavs struggled with defensive rotations all game and allowed the Suns to shoot 50.5% from the field. While they were fortunate not to give up many second chance points, they allowed a 31.2% Offensive Rebound Rate and will need to do a better job at finishing defensive possessions.

If they can slow down the Suns, they have a real shot because offense won’t be much of an issue for the Mavericks in this series given the stellar play of Luka Doncic who scored 45 points grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out eight assists.

The Mavericks will never be out of a game because they don’t turn the ball over much and they have the ability to hit the 3s. In Game 1 they shot 41% from behind the arc with Maxi Kleber going 5-of-8 from deep. The rest of the team was just 11-of-31 from downtown, so others will need to step up.

Jalen Brunson, who might have earned himself a huge contract with his first round performance against the Jazz, shot 6-of-16, scored just 13 points and got into foul trouble early, which hurt his ability to play aggressive early on. Spencer Dinwiddie continues to struggle during the postseason and as one of the team’s three ball handlers, they’ll need him to step up to keep pace with the Suns.

Suns Exploiting Every Matchup Advantage

The Suns have now defeated the Mavericks in 10 consecutive games with the Mavericks’ last win coming on Nov. 29, 2019. The Mavericks are certainly a better team than that record suggests, but styles make fights and this was a matchup much more fitting for the Suns than dealing with the length and athleticism they faced in Round 1.

While the Suns lost the rebounding battle against the Mavericks, they’re the bigger team in this matchup, grabbing 31% of their offensive rebounds while allowing just 16%. Although they could do a better job at capitalizing on second chance points, their offense was so potent it didn’t matter. The Suns scored 1.28 points per possession with six player putting up double figures.

Devin Booker appears to be healthy after his injury scare in Round 1. He registered 23 points along with eight assists and nine rebounds and based on his play against the Mavs this season  — 23.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists — I expect even better performances going forward.

DeAndre Ayton is also a huge matchup problem as the Mavericks don’t have the personnel to defend him with the 6-foo-10 Dwight Powell and the slow-footed Boban Marjanovic being their only traditional bigs. Ayton scored 25 points on 60% shooting from the floor and with Chris Paul controlling the game, he’s likely to get easy baskets all series.

While many will argue the Suns shot over expectation in Game 1, they have so many matchup advantages in this series that it’s likely we see a similar offensive output in Game 2.

The Suns still have a math problem trading midrange 2s for Mavericks 3s but they’re making the Mavericks work harder for their offense. Mikal Bridges continues to be a force defensively and if they can limit the Mavericks from being so efficient from the outside, they should be well on their way to going up 2-0 before he series shifts to Dallas.

Mavericks-Suns Pick

Doncic is incredible, but what does it say about the Mavericks’ chances when their star puts up 45 points, the team goes 16-of-39 from behind the arc and they still find themselves down 20 in the fourth quarter.

While the Mavericks certainly fought hard, barely missing a cover after a Spence Dinwiddie missed 3-pointer on the last possession of the game, it’s clear these two teams are in completely different weight classes.

I expect the Mavericks to be competitive in this series at some point, but that will come when the series shifts to Dallas. For now, I expect another Suns win and cover. Lay the points with the Suns.

Pick: Suns -6 (-110)