GAME 2: DALLAS MAVERICKS (0-1) at PHOENIX SUNS (1-0)
Time: 9 p.m., Wednesday.
Place: Footprint Center, Phoenix.
Radio: The Eagle 97.1 FM; Univision Zona MX 99.1 FM (Spanish)
About the Mavericks: They got blitzed in Game 1 with a 22-7 haymaker right out of the gate and never fully recovered. They would close the gap to four at one point, but, as coach Jason Kidd said: “We never could get over the hump.” Phoenix led by 21 in the fourth quarter before a too-late Mavs’ push closed the final score to 121-114 . . . Best thing that can happen for the Mavericks is for Jalen Brunson to shake off his foul-ridden Game 1 problems and return to his first-round form. He didn’t play poorly, but he did have shooting problems (6-of-16, 1-of-6 in the first half). He had three points and three fouls at halftime and finished with 13 points. This, after averaging nearly 28 per game in the first round. Brunson and teammates are going to have to adjust to Phoenix’s stay-at-home style of defense. The Suns believe they have the quickness, size and physicality to play all the Mavericks one-on-one. In Game 1, they were right . . . So expect changes from Kidd, perhaps even rotation or lineup adjustments. Spencer Dinwiddie as part of a three-guard starting lineup? Everything is on the table. Speaking of Dinwiddie, he could muster just eight points in 30 minutes off the bench in Game 1 . . . But the biggest adjustment has to be rebounding. The Mavericks were out-glassed 51-36 and it didn’t seem that close. All five Phoenix starters had five or more boards, as did Cam Johnson off the bench. That’s part of the fallout of playing small lineups, which Kidd said will continue . . . Luka Dončić will have a tough time topping his Game 1 effort (45 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists). Now, as Kidd said it’s time for somebody else “to join the party.”
About the Suns: They did a lot of things well in Game 1, but their best asset continues to be putting the ball in the basket. They shot 63.6 percent in the first half, 50 percent in the third quarter. That was enough to stake them to a big enough lead that the Mavericks’ fourth-quarter show of backbone didn’t matter. The Suns have shot 50 percent or better in all seven playoff games thus far. That’s a big reason why they’ve scored 110 or more points in six of those seven . . . Deandre Ayton hit 12 of his first 15 shots in Game 1. Missed his last five, but still embodied what the Suns did for three quarters as they outmaneuvered everything the Mavericks tried to do defensively. Ayton finished with 25 points and eight rebounds . . . The Suns are up 1-0 without a monster night from Chris Paul. He had a quiet 19 points, three assists and five rebounds on Monday. It’s worth noting, though, that the Suns were plus-14 while Paul was on the floor. That was the best plus-minus on the team in the series opener . . . The Suns did not miss a free throw in Game 1 (18-for-18). That was a key considering the Mavericks shot 18-of-25 for 72 percent. Not terrible, but still giving away free points . . . Jae Crowder, the former Maverick, has always been a feisty player. But he was particularly animated in the first half as the Suns took apart the Mavericks’ defense with 69 points for a 13-point lead. Crowder finished with 11 points and eight rebounds . . . After Game 2, there will be a quick turnaround for the Suns, traveling on Thursday for Friday’s Game 3 at American Airlines Center.