Mavs GAMEDAY and Porzingis Birthday: Dallas Needs Prime-Time Win
The Dallas Mavericks are looking for their first win in the NBA restart in prime time tonight against the Phoenix Suns. The Mavs’ offense sputtered in the final minutes of an overtime loss in a shootout with the Houston Rockets.
Dallas’ ability to close out wins is crucial for the seventh-seeded Mavs have the (suddenly-outside) chance to improve their seed in the Western Conference (therefore likely avoiding the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs). Today, Dallas could clinch a playoff spot, though, if the Grizzlies lose their earlier-in-the-day matchup against the Spurs.
It's Kristaps Porzingis' 25th birthday and the best present in the bubble? Obviously a win.
THE MATCHUP: During the regular season, the Suns and Mavericks split their first two matchups with the road team winning each time. The Suns looked impressive in their 125-112 victory on Friday against the Washington Wizards. DeAndre Ayton and Mikal Bridges are sneaky good defensively and could be a tough matchup to slow down Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.
OUTSTANDING OFFENSE: Dallas owns the most highly-rated offense in NBA history with an offensive rating of 115.9.
CLOSE-GAME WOES: The Mavs lead the NBA with 17 losses by five or fewer points.
TRIPLE-DOUBLE KING: Luka Doncic recorded his NBA-leading 15th triple-double against Houston behind 28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. It marked his 23 career triple-double.
Behind Doncic is Lebron James with 13 triple-doubles.
BURKE IS BACK IN A BIG WAY: Trey Burke shocked and awed in the Mavs’ first game in the bubble. The backup guard dropped a season-high 31 points to go with 6 assists vs. Houston. His 8 made three-pointers are a career-high and his 31 points are his most in a game since November 18, 2018 at Orlando.
In case you missed the recent transaction alert … The Mavs signed the Burke as a replacement player after Willie Cauley-Stein opted out. Burke, once a throw-in in the KP trade, played 25 games for the Mavs last season, averaging 9.7 points and 2.6 assists in 17.4 minutes.
INJURY REPORT: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (day-to-day) arrived late to bubble and is not scheduled to play.
The following players are out and will not be participating in the bubble: Dwight Powell (Achilles), Jalen Brunson (shoulder), Willie Cauley-Stein (personal) and Courtney Lee (calf).
Game Time: 8 p.m. CT
Location: Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando
TV/Radio: Fox Sports Southwest/ESPN, ESPN 103.3 FM, Univision 1270 AM
Records: Mavericks (40-28, 7th in the West), Suns (27-39, 13th in the West)