The Phoenix Suns have the look of a team that is intent on righting some wrongs from last season.
You remember them, right? The team that blew through the Western Conference in the regular season with a 64-18 record and was the favorite to win the championship when the playoffs began.
Then, the Mavericks happened to them in Game 7 of the second round and that was the end of that. It was a great time to be a Mavs’ fan. Not so much if you support the Suns.
Now, Phoenix is back at it. They have the best record in the West and recently checked off six consecutive victories – all of them without Chris Paul, who is out with a heel injury.
The Suns are doing it with a strong combination of offense (No. 2 overall rating in the NBA) and defense (No. 6 overall). Interestingly, the Mavericks are in the top 10 in the league in both defense and offense rating. It just hasn’t manifested itself in a winning record yet.
Devin Booker has had a superb start to the season for the Suns, averaging a shade under 30 points per game and adding more than five rebounds and assists per night. And he’s been particularly strong of late, averaging 45.3 points during a three-game stretch before the Suns didn’t need much out of him in the blowout win over the Spurs on Sunday.
Booker also has become a trendy MVP contender, mostly because the Suns continue to rack up wins, although there’s certainly nothing wrong with his numbers. ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins recently said that he’d rate Booker above Luka Dončić in the MVP race, even though the Mavericks’ point guard leads the NBA in scoring and fourth in assists.
Either way, it’s always a treat for fans when the Mavericks and Suns get together. The star power is strong with Luka and Booker. But the Suns also have an effective big man in Deandre Ayton, who is averaging roughly 17 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Here’s what else you need to know about the Suns’ visit: