Key to Dallas Mavericks defeating Suns in 2022 NBA Playoffs: 4. Bench production
Head coach Jason Kidd cut it to an eight-man rotation in the Mavs' first-round series against the Utah Jazz. Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock both played over 254 minutes as they barely left the floor in the series. In their two losses, Dallas got 27 combined points from their bench.
Expect coach Kidd to stick with the same starting five against the Suns, which means both Spencer Dinwiddie and Maxi Kleber will come off the bench. Both are key pieces of the Mavs attack. Kleber stretches the floor and is the team’s best rim protector. Dinwiddie is the Mavericks' third ball-handler with the ability to attack the paint and create easy buckets. Dallas needs both producing to pull the upset.
Cameron Johnson averaged 12.5 points per game during the regular season, and he will be a key floor spacer for the Suns in this series. Cameron Payne can be a spark plug scorer off the bench, and Phoenix’s backup center will look to feast on easy buckets if Dallas goes small.
The Mavs need to win the battle of bench scoring if they want to pull the upset. Dinwiddie and Kleber must sink open shots and score 20-plus combined or Phoenix will have the edge in the series.