Mavericks vs. Suns Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
If there’s any truth to the cliché that a series doesn’t start until a road team wins a game, this Western Conference semifinals matchup between the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks is the perfect illustration.
After the Suns dominated the Mavericks throughout the first two games, the Mavericks completely flipped the switch in the next two games to tie the series.
Can Chris Paul and the Devin Booker regain control of this series or will Luka Doncic and the Mavericks win their third straight game? Where does the betting value lie? Let’s analyze both sides and find out.
Can the Mavericks Maintain Their Masterful Shooting?
The Mavericks appeared be drawing dead throughout the first two games of this series based on their struggles on the defensive end of the floor.
In Games 1 and 2, the Mavericks allowed 121 points on 1.28 points per possession and 129 points on 1.36 points per possession. Things shifted drastically in Dallas; their defense stepped up allowing just 94 points on 1.03 points per possession and 101 points on 1.09 points per possession respectively in Games 3 and 4.
Of course, the biggest question is whether the defense is sustainable?
That remains to be seen however, the Mavericks have done a much better job at not allowing Luka Doncic to get caught up in isolation or pick-and-roll situations.
In Game 4, Doncic defended as the screener 18 times, according to Second Spectrum, and he was rarely caught defending Paul or Booker one-on-one. With the Phoenix’ role players struggling, and Paul and Booker unable to consistently force Doncic into switches, the Mavericks’ defense may have turned the corner.
While the Dallas defense has question marks, its offense has proven to be reliable, scoring 117.9 points per 100 possessions throughout this series. In Game 4, they scored 111 points with an Offensive Rating of 120.
Although Doncic had just 26 points on 9-of-25 shooting in Game 4, he still dished out 11 assists with the Suns selling out to slow him down. The Mavericks shot 20-of-44 from behind the arc with Dorian Finney-Smith scoring all 24 of his points on from 3-point range (8-of-12).
In many ways, the Mavericks are better off with Doncic not having the high scoring outburst we saw from him in Game 1 where he put up 45 points on 30 shots. While the Doncic got going in Game 1, it left his teammates out of rhythm and shouldering such a huge scoring load often leaves him gassed by the fourth quarter.
With the Suns going all out to slow down Doncic in Games 3 and 4, the Mavericks’ role players have gotten decent looks from 3-point range adding to the math problem the Suns have in this series.
In Game 4, the Mavericks outscored the Suns by 33 points from behind the arc and while we may not see such a huge disparity every game, this will be an advantage throughout this series.
The Mavericks are taking the highest percentage of 3s this postseason (47.1%) while the Suns rank 15th among all playoff teams at (31.4%). If the Mavericks can continue to shoot 39% from behind the arc at that volume, they have a real shot at winning both this game and this series.
Can Phoenix Right the Ship at Home?
What’s happening to the Suns? Despite finishing with the best record in the league at 64-18, they’ve consistently found themselves in dog fights with seemingly inferior teams throughout this postseason.
After escaping a six-game series against the New Orleans Pelicans in Round 1, it appeared they turned the corner with two dominant victories over the Mavericks in the first two games of the series.
Things took a dramatic turn when the series shifted to Dallas and the Suns defense completely fell off a cliff. The Suns consistently over-helped and sagged off shooters allowing wide open 3s. Monty Williams should consider removing Cameron Payne from the lineup as he was consistently roasted on switches by Doncic. He hasn’t been much better offensively either and the Suns could benefit by staggering Paul and Booker instead.
Of course, the Suns also need Paul to resemble himself as he was anything but the future Hall of Fame point guard we’re used to seeing in Games 3 and 4. In Game 3, Paul took nine total shots, scored 12 points and had more turnovers (seven) than assists (four). Then he struggled to stay on the floor in Game 4 where he fouled out midway through the fourth quarter and played just 23 minutes due to foul trouble. It’s tough to imagine that continuing.
Booker has been dominant against this Mavericks team throughout this seasons and his career, but he’s taken a slight step back the past two games with 10 turnovers despite scoring efficiently. Mikal Bridges and DeAndre Ayton haven’t performed well offensively either and you have to wonder if they will benefit from the series returning to Phoenix.
I’ve never believed this Suns team had another gear to reach from their regular season form as they’re not scoring from the spots on the floor that analytically sound teams often target. The Suns were first in mid-range shooting frequency (41.7%) and 25th in 3-point frequency (33.1%) during the regular season and they’re not dominant inside, even against the Mavs who lacks traditional bigs.
The Suns win with their ability to remain balanced and out-execute their opponents. You have to blow out the Suns in order to beat them because they are by far the best clutch team (33-9) in the league. In clutch situations, the Suns have a +33.4 Net Rating, a 131.6 Offensive Rating and a 98.2 Defensive Rating.
If this is a close game, the Suns should have the edge, particularly at home where they’re unlikely to be on the wrong end of egregious foul calls which take Paul out of the game early.
The biggest question in regards to this series is if we believe what we saw in Games 1 and 2 or what we saw in Games 3 and 4.
I think the truth is somewhere in the middle, but it’s hard to imagine CP3 having seven turnovers or fouling out in a Game 5 at home. Those were two of the biggest factors in their two road losses.
While the Suns do have a math problem, they can score efficiently enough to overcome that at home. I expect a bounce back performance from the Suns in Game 5, however I do like the Mavericks in this series as they have the best player.
Should the Suns win, I’ll be looking to back the Mavericks for the series as I expect them to win Game 6 at home. Should this series go to Game 7, I’d never want to bet against the team with the best player.
Pick: Suns -6 (-110)