The Dallas Mavericks dominated the first half, but the Phoenix Suns punched back to grab a 107-105 win, and exact a bit of revenge on Luka Doncic and company from last year’s playoffs. Dallas had 62 points in the first 24 minutes, but they managed just 43 in the second half as the Suns stole the victory after trailing by as much as 22 points.
Devon Booker led the way for the Suns with 28, and his pick-and-roll with Deandre Ayton was a key part of the Suns' comeback. Chris Paul did not play down the stretch as he again struggled against Dallas. Newcomer Damion Lee nailed a few clutch shots for the Suns, including the game-winner on Oct. 19.
It was a disappointing loss for the Mavericks after they played so well in the first half, but there was plenty for fans to learn for the opening night showdown against one of the best teams in the league. Here are three takeaways from the Mavericks' loss in Phoenix.
Takeaway from Dallas Mavericks loss to Suns: 3. C-Wood makes offense special
The Mavs traded for Christian Wood this offseason, and fans were not sure what to expect. The 6’10 forward had never played for a winning team, but he did average 19.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.0 block per game during his two seasons in Houston. Fans saw glimpses in the preseason, but Wood proved that he can take the Mavericks' offense to another level in the season opener.
Wood can do it all on the offensive end of the floor. The 6’10 forward can post up, shoot from 3-point range, put the ball on the floor, and shoot in the mid-range. Fans saw glimpses of it all in Phoenix. Wood scored 16 straight points to close the third and open the fourth quarter in an impressive run that gave Dallas the momentum back.
Wood finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and one block in 24 minutes of action. He came off the bench, and Dallas played Maxi Kleber 26 minutes, including to close the contest because they trust his defense. Can C-Wood improve his defense enough to play 30-plus minutes going forward?
Wood’s free throw shooting hurt Dallas on Wednesday night. He got to the line ten times but made just three as the Mavericks lost a heartbreaker. The team’s 13 missed free throws will certainly haunt them as they look back at the season-opening loss.
Wood gives Dallas a different dimension on offense, and he could make the Mavericks one of the best teams in the league, especially if his defense improves.