vs Phoenix Suns
—–LAST YEAR RESULTS—– —–UPCOMING MEETINGS—–
JAN 4 @ DALLAS: W 98-89 DEC 6 @ PHOENIX
JAN 23 @ DALLAS: W 93-87 JAN 27 @ DALLAS
JAN 30 @ PHOENIX: W 122-99 FEB 1 @ PHOENIX
MAR 8 @ PHOENIX: L 96-94 APR 10 @ DALLAS
MAVS WON SERIES 3-1
This will be the first season for the Phoenix Suns to be without Steve Nash, who left to join the Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns should still be a very talented team to get them over the 30 win mark as they prepare to rebuild this franchise. With the acquisitions of Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal, the Suns are still a dangerous team and cannot be taken lightly.
The Dallas Mavericks and Suns have had history in the past during the mid 2000′s with Nash leaving them for the Suns, but now with him no longer in Phoenix, the rivalry may be dead. That means tensions between the two are no longer there. However, that does not mean that each of the four games they meet will not be close battles. For the Suns to beat the Mavericks, they are going to have to use both the run and the power game they have. With the young Beasley, the Suns have a big man who can clog up the middle to go along with Marcin Gortat and Scola, which they will need to use if they want to defeat the Mavericks.
O’Neal may not be a big factor anymore, but he can still give the Suns 5-7 rebounds a game to go along with 5-10 points a game. Even if he does not produce like he used to, he is still about 7 feet tall and about 255 pounds, so that’s a body the Suns could use in the paint to stop either Shawn Marion, Delonte West or Darren Collison from taking it to the basket. Doing so means that the Mavericks will need to depend on their shooting game if they are not able to make their way to the paint. However, the Suns do have guys who will be able to defend any shot. They may not be great defenders, but Jared Dudley, Sebastian Telfair and Dragic should still be able to defend most of the Mavs jump shooters. Doing all that the Suns should keep each of the four games a close battle.
For the Mavericks to defeat the Suns in their four match ups, they simply need to take control of the game’s tempo. The Suns are going through a rebuilding stage right now, but the Mavs need to not take it easy during any of the four games as this Suns team is still very good if given the chance. Of course the Mavs are going to use Dirk Nowitzki–that’s a no brainer. He’s probably go to get his 25-30 points if he is not having a bad shooting night. If he is having a bad shooting night, then that’s a different story and the Suns will probably steal one from Dallas.
If he is able to perform, then other guys like Marion, West, Collison, Vince Carter, Chris Kaman, O.J. Mayo and Elton Brand will all be part of the scoring as well. The Mavs have a lot of options to go to even if Nowitzki is not able to perform. On the defensive side, the Mavericks have West, Mayo, Collison and Marion able to defend anything that the Suns give them. That’s why I expect the Mavs to at least win three of the four match ups, seeing that the last game of the series is during the last few weeks of the season, meaning the Mavs may be resting players during that time.
—-LAST YEAR RESULTS—– —–UPCOMING MEETINGS—–
DEC 30 @ DALLAS: W 99-86 NOV 7 @ DALLAS
MAVS WON SERIES 1-0 DEC 14 @ TORONTO
The team north of the border is an uprising East team. The Toronto Raptors have always been in their franchise history a team that never goes anywhere. They are the team that is usually part of the draft lottery. This year will probably be the same, but they have talent that can get them 35-40 wins and being in the Eastern Conference will help a long way.
The Raptors have acquired Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields and John Lucas III to go along with Andrea Bargnani, so they have a talented team that will be able to perform. They may not win 50-55 games, but they will have a season that consists of 6-7 game winning streaks to go along with another 6-7 game losing streak, which is okay for a young team like the Raptors. A team like the Mavericks may come along the way and the Mavs may be part of the Raptors’ win streak.
With that said, the keys for the Raptors to defeat the Mavericks will be to use their young guys in a run and gun game. I am going to assume that Lowry will be the starting point guard for the Raptors, so with his speed and with Lucas and Fields, the Raptors have a fast team that could outrun the Mavericks. Of course the Raptors are going to need to give the ball to Bargnani down the paint, where he will be able to produce 15-20 points down there.
Nevertheless, that may not be enough to beat the Mavericks since they are a young team still learning how to keep up in the NBA, which will take time and will need to build up as the season progresses, but with the Mavs and Raptors meeting in early November, they may not be ready to go against a strong and fast Dallas Mavericks team.
For the Mavs to beat the Raptors, all they need to do is keep Bargnani out the game. They need to get him into foul trouble as I do not see any other of the Raptors’ big men making a difference in any of the two games. Dallas can use Brand, Kaman, Marion and Nowitzki to annoy Bargnani, which will lead into fouls for him. Then the Mavs will take advantage when he is out of the game to build up a double digit lead to make it impossible for the Raptors to catch up. That’s what I expect. I expect the Mavs to take both these games and, like I have said in the past, that these are the games that the Mavericks are supposed to win. With Rick Carlisle as the Mavs head coach, I am sure that he will preach to these guys that games like these are games that they are supposed to win.