NBA preview: Can the Dallas Mavericks upset the Phoenix Suns?
The Dallas Mavericks advanced past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2011, after beating Utah Jazz 4-2.
The last time the franchise progressed past the first round, they won their first ever championship - if that is to happen again they'll have to see off the Phoenix Suns, who finished with the best record in the league.
The Mavs caught a huge break in their first round series against the Utah Jazz, as Luka Doncic was able to come back and average 29.0 points on nearly 57% shooting to go along with 10.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game in the three games he featured.
Jalen Brunson also came in and provided a huge boost for the Mavs, averaging 27.8 points on over 48% shooting to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
It's been Brunson's craftiness with the ball in his hands, which allows him to get to the rim and create shots in the mid-range, that has allowed him to have so much success scoring the ball. He is going to get a huge payday this summer.
How can the Mavs slow down the Suns?
The Jazz had no perimeter defenders the Mavs had to worry about, but that is going to be far from the case now that they're going to be facing off against the Suns.
"I think it's going to be a big challenge for me," Doncic said. "They have [Mikal] Bridges. I know he's going to be on me. He's the best, if not maybe top-two, guard defender. I think maybe him and [Marcus] Smart. Really, it's tough against him. His defense is amazing. It really impresses me."
Bridges is built enough to be able to shut Doncic down, as it's his length, size, lateral ability, and defensive IQ that positions him well to shut down some of the premier guards and wings in the league.
Mavs head coach Jason Kidd, who knows a thing or two about winning in the playoffs, has a good idea on how he can have the Mavs overcome the odds, as he even admitted that no one is going to favor them.
The matchup is set.— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 29, 2022
Mark your calendars for TOMORROW at 1PM when tickets for Game 1 & Game 2 go on sale. pic.twitter.com/yZKS47Ry1E
"The biggest thing is we have to take care of the ball," Kidd said.
"We can't turn the ball over against them. If you turn it over, they're running for threes or layups, and that just puts you in a bad situation.
"We have to continue taking care of the ball and understand that the first matchup might not be the one we want. Just be patient to get the matchup we want."
If Doncic can overcome Bridges' defense and the Mavs stick to their gameplan, perhaps we could see them pull off the upset!