The Phoenix Suns have built an impressive team, and the results are apparent. After making it to the 2021 NBA Finals, they followed it up with a 64-18 regular season record — eight wins clear of the nearest team.
With a star-studded backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker setting the tone, the Suns boast a half-court offense that poses problems for any defense. Factor in spot-up shooting threats and Deandre Ayton as a rim roller, and there’s something special in the desert.
The Suns also compete at a high level on defense. Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert even tipped his cap to Devin Booker at midseason for how he’s competing on defense compared to just a few seasons ago.
Mikal Bridges has emerged as one of the league’s most impactful defenders, Paul has always been guarded his position well and Ayton continues to show growth as a rim protector.
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The ESPN NBA staff has a lot of confidence in what the Suns will accomplish against the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals. All 20 picked the Suns to win the series, with the most extreme prediction being Dave McMenamin having Phoenix winning the series in five games.
“No one is going to favor us or give us a chance in this series,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “We just got to take one possession at a time, continue to have fun and execute and play hard and see what happens.”
With the chance to advance to the Western Conference finals on the line, the Mavericks will need to find a way to defy the odds to make it happen.
The Mavericks have a strong formula regardless of this matchup. They have one of the NBA’s elite players in Luka Doncic, plenty of spot-up shooting, a highly versatile defense that can swarm and a secondary creator in Jalen Brunson. If they play up to their potential, an upset is not out of the question.