Takeaway from Dallas Mavericks Game 1 playoff loss to Suns: 3. Defense
The Mavs defeated the Jazz in the first round of the playoffs because of their defense. Utah had the best offense in the NBA during the regular season, but Dallas held them under 101 points in four of the six games. The Mavericks have made massive strides on that end of the floor this season, but their defense was non-existent on May 2.
The Suns had 69 points in the first half, and they were up to 96 by the end of the third quarter. Dallas could not get a stop at the Footprint Center as Phoenix cruised to a victory behind a 121-point performance in Game 1.
Head coach Jason Kidd’s defensive system limits 3-pointers and shots at the rim, but the Suns are most comfortable operating in the mid-range. The Mavericks changed up the scheme, and it did not work in Game 1. Phoenix got plenty of open looks at the rim, and Dallas needs to find a way to slow them down.
Early foul trouble limited the minutes of Reggie Bullock and Jalen Brunson. The Mavericks need both players on the floor and producing if they want to upset the Suns. Their defense struggled all night, and Dallas needs to defend better from the opening tip in Game 2.