MAVS (11-6) AT SUNS (8-9)
Time: 8 p.m. CT
Place: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix
Radio: ESPN 103.3 FM; Univision 1270 AM (Spanish)
About the Mavs: After suffering their worst loss of the season against a Los Angeles Clippers’ team projected by many to win this season’s NBA title, the Mavs have already flushed that 114-99 defeat out of their system as they open a three-game road trip tonight against the Phoenix Suns. The road trip include a Sunday afternoon game against the Los Angeles Lakers and a Tuesday night contest against the New Orleans Pelicans before the Mavs return home to host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. . .The only other time the Mavs suffered a double-digit loss this season was at Boston (116-106) on Nov. 11. . .Point guard Luka Doncic is third in the league in scoring (30.1 ppg), 15th in rebounding (10 rpg), second in assists (9.5 apg), and tied for 15th in steals (1.5 spg). . .Forward Kristaps Porzingis has given the Mavs a huge lift and is averaging 18.3 ppg. He also is 18th in the NBA is rebounding (9.2 rpg) and fourth in blocks (2.13 bpg). . .Tim Hardaway Jr. averages 12.2 ppg, while J. J. Barea made his third appearance of the season in Tuesday’s game against the Clippers and responded by pouring in 10 of his season-high 12 minutes during a 10-minute period of the third quarter. . .The Mavs are 73-85 all-time against the Suns, including a 26-52 record during games played in Phoenix. . .The Suns won seven straight games over Dallas before the Mavs regrouped and captured the last two games in this series. . .The Mavs are currently seeded fifth in the Western Conference and are 5-2 on the road.
About the Suns: Phoenix looked very impressive in jumping out to a 7-4 record that involved double-digit wins over Sacramento (124-95), Golden State (121-110), Brooklyn (138-112), and Atlanta (128-112). The Suns also knocked off the highly-touted Los Angeles Clippers (130-122) and Philadelphia 76ers (114-109) earlier in the season. . .But the Suns have since fallen on hard times as they’ve lost five of their last six games, including Wednesday’s home game against Washington (140-132). It was the third straight loss at home by the Suns, who are 5-6 on their home court. . .Guard Devin Booker, who has enjoyed some of the best games of his career against the Mavs, makes it all go for the Suns. Booker is averaging 24.9 ppg and 6.2 apg. He has four 30-point games this season and also poured in a season-high 40 points in the five-point victory over Philadelphia. When the Mavs opened Luka Doncic’s rookie season with a 121-100 loss in Phoenix last year, Booker finished that game with 35 points and was 12-of-19 from the field and 6-of-10 from 3-point land. But he missed the team’s other three matchups with the Mavs last season while suffering from hamstring, back spasms and a sprained ankle.. . .Other players who have been at the forefront for the Suns include Kelly Oubre Jr. (17.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg), Aron Baynes (14.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg), Ricky Rubio (12.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 7.8 apg) and Dario Saric (10.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg). . .Despite their losing record, the Suns would be the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference if the playoffs started today.