How the Dallas Mavericks can defeat Phoenix Suns in playoff series: 1. Defense
The Mavs are going to have to win this series on the defensive end of the floor. If they get stops, Dallas can force the Suns to defend without setting their defense, which makes it much easier to get into the paint. Everything starts with their much-improved defense under first-year head coach Jason Kidd.
The Mavericks held the Suns to an average of 97.5 points per game in their two wins and 120 a night in their three losses. Dallas played well on the defensive end in three of the four quarters of Game 5 as the Suns scored just 77 combined points, but things unraveled in the third quarter.
The Mavericks turned the ball over 12 times in the period, and the Suns scored 33 points. They frustrated Dallas and force plenty of errors to take a commanding and insurmountable lead.
Dallas needs to do a better job defending Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton moving forward. The duo combined for 48 points in Game 5 on 20 of 33 shooting from the field as the Suns shot 49.4 percent as a team. Expect defense to be a point of emphasis for coach Kidd as the series shifts back to Dallas.
The Mavericks are not eliminated yet, and the American Airlines Center will be rocking on Thursday night. Can Dallas come home and force a Game 7? They are capable, but defeating the Phoenix Suns is never easy. The Mavs have been impressive in this series, especially at home, so do not miss it.