Matchup: Dallas Mavericks vs Phoenix Suns
Records: Mavericks (15-11), Suns (4-24)
Where to Watch
Date: Friday, Dec. 14
Time: 9:00 AM IST
TV: Sony Ten1
Location: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Both these teams tipped-off their 2018-19 season campaigns against each other, at the same arena in Phoenix on Oct. 18 but just like the Rockets-Lakers situation, the season since has taken two very different turns for either team.
After winning their season opener, it's all spiraled for the Suns despite having a very positive offseason and re-signing a young superstar like Devin Booker. However, one thing they couldn't acquire in the summer was a legitimate starting point guard and that has got a lot to do with their horrid 4-24 season so far.
They weren't winning a lot of games with Booker in the line-up, so it only made matters worse when the guard was sidelined with a hamstring issue a little over ten days back. Of the 24 total losses so far, the Suns have lost by double digits in 17 of those encounters and by 20 or more points nine times.
Things just don't seem to be improving in Phoenix. In the team's ongoing losing streak, they have lost by an average margin of 15.5 points. They literally rank at the bottom of the league on both ends of the court - 28th in offensive rating (101.3) and 29th in defensive rating (112.7).
It's been a completely opposite story in Dallas.
The Mavericks took some time to get on the same page with their rookie Luke Doncic, getting off to a 3-8 start but since they have been on fire, winning 12 of their last 15 games.
Just like the team, Doncic got off to a relatively slow start this season, but he's been a huge reason for the team's 12-3 record since Nov. 10. His numbers down the stretch of close games are ridiculous and he's made a lot of those clutch buckets with his killer stepback. (He's actually knocked down more stepbacks than the entire 2018 Draft Class combined).
If that weren't enough, the team is likely to see the return of Dirk Nowitzki who sources say is set to make his season debut in this game.
MORE: Dirk Nowitzki ready to embark on 21st NBA season
Offense wins games but defense wins championships and the Mavericks have been working on that end of the floor during this 12-3 run. Over these past 15 games, Dallas' defensive rating is ranked 4th (102.6) which results in a net rating (6.8), good for 4th.
Last Time They Played
Date: Oct. 18, 2018
Score: Mavericks 100, Suns 121
Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr. - 13 points, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 2 rebounds
Suns: Devin Booker - 35 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds on 63.2% shooting