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:

  • The Mavericks have lost 10 consecutive regular-season meetings with the Suns. But they The Suns are completing a Texas Triangle, of sorts. They lost to Houston in Phoenix on Friday before winning easily at San Antonio on Sunday afternoon. The Suns had won six in a row before the upset loss to Houston.
  • This is the second of four meetings between the Mavs and Suns, Phoenix having won the season opener at home 107-105. But that final score doesn’t tell the whole story. The Mavericks were up 93-78 with under nine minutes to play but were swamped down the stretch.
  • Protecting the home floor is going to be paramount during December. The Mavericks are 8-3 so far at AAC. And this is the start of a tough segment of games. After the Suns, they visit Denver on the hind leg of a back-to-back on Tuesday and return Friday to face Milwaukee, which has the second-best record in the league.
  • Christian Wood, who missed Saturday’s game at New York with an illness, could be able to return against the Suns. He’s officially listed as questionable. Other than Paul, the Suns are relatively healthy.


  • When: 7:30 p.m., Monday.
  • Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas.
  • TV: Bally’s Sports Southwest, NBA TV.
  • Radio:1 The Freak, 99.1 FM Zona MX (Spanish).
  • Twitter: @ESefko


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