The Dallas Mavericks are still working their way into form. They had lost four straight games entering Saturday’s contest against the Phoenix Suns. The Mavs faced a brutal stretch including three back-to-back sets in 13 days. Star Kristaps Porzingis played in both halves for the first one before sitting on Jan. 23.
The Mavericks decided to rest KP again on Jan. 30. He missed the first nine games of the regular season recovering from offseason knee surgery. Dallas needs him healthy in the playoffs. Resting Porzingis on one-half of back-to-backs appears to be part of that plan.
Maxi Kleber remained out on Saturday against the Suns. He missed his tenth straight game in the health and safety protocols. It left the Mavericks a bit short-handed in the frontcourt as they attempted to snap a four-game losing skid.
Who steps up for the Dallas Mavericks with Kristaps Porzingis out?
Expect Porzingis’ absence to create more minutes for Willie Cauley-Stein, Dwight Powell, and James Johnson. Fans may even get some Boban Marjanovic minutes against the Suns. The Mavs will miss KP’s floor spacing. Expect them to play smaller with plenty of shooting around their center.
The Suns are without star Devin Booker on Saturday night. Expect Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton to pick up the slack. Dallas will have to match up against Phoenix’s big man. Do not be surprised to see coach Rick Carlisle ticker and ride a hot hand at the five on Jan. 30.
Mikal Bridges may be the key for the Suns. The 6’6 wing will take on the task of guarding Luka Doncic. If he can keep Luka in check, especially by limiting his assists, the Suns will have a chance to secure the victory at the American Airlines Center.
Stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for plenty more after Saturday’s game, plus news and opinions on the Dallas Mavericks 365 days a year. Do not miss it.