The Dallas Mavericks handled the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs. It was a series that never felt in doubt after Dallas won two of the first three games without superstar Luka Doncic. The 23-year-old returned in Game 4 and helped the Mavs to their first postseason series victory since winning the title in 2011.
Dallas did have a massive celebration after topping the Jazz in six games because they know the job is not finished. They believe they can compete with any team in the NBA, and the Phoenix Suns await in round two. Phoenix had the best record in the league during the regular season, and they have won nine straight meetings against the Mavericks.
Fans know that none of that matters after Dallas won two games in Utah, which they had not previously done since 2016. So what will decide the series between the Mavericks and the Suns?
5 X-factors in Dallas Mavericks second-round playoff series vs. Phoenix Suns
It is going to be a fascinating series with a ton of subplots. The Suns prefer to play with a traditional center on the floor in Deandre Ayton, JaVale McGee, or Bismack Biyombo. Can the Mavs neutralize their big men and force the Suns to adjust by playing small? How much will coach Kidd use his three point guards on the floor together?
That is just the tip of the iceberg in a series that could go either way. Yes, the Suns were the best team in the league during the regular season, but the Dallas Mavericks have been one of the best since the calendar flipped to 2022. Here are five X-factors that will decide this second-round playoff series.