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Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks: 4 storylines for NBA Playoff series

Vincent Frank

The Phoenix Suns are coming off a hard-fought six-game series win over a pesky New Orleans Pelicans squad. As for the Dallas Mavericks, they disposed of the Utah Jazz in six games, too.

This Western Conference Semifinals matchup opens Monday evening in Phoenix with the NBA-best Suns looking to get off to a hot start. On the other hand, Dallas has proven over and over this season that it can compete with the big boys.

There’s obvious storylines here. Can the duo of Luka Doncic and an improve Jalen Brunson go tit-for-tat with Chris Paul and Devin Booker? These are among the top-four storylines of this Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks Round 2 playoff matchup.

Related: Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic and the NBA’s top-50 players

Dallas Mavericks’ Jalen Brunson continues to excel

dallas mavericks jalen brunson, phoenix suns storylines
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

With Luka Doncic out the first three games of Dallas’ opening round win over the Utah Jazz, it was this former Villanova star who picked up his game big time. It’s what defined him during his time in college — helping the Wildcats to the championship. And it’s what he’s doing right now.

Brunson, 25, averaged 32 points in the three games that Doncic missed. While there were some issues with continuity once Doncic returned, Brunson more than has what it takes to be that No. 2 option behind Luka. Dallas will need that if it’s going to upset Phoenix.

Related: Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton and NBA’s top free agents of 2022

Deandre Ayton and Phoenix Suns’ supporting cast

The Phoenix Suns have a forecast 57% chance to win against The Dallas Mavericks with a spread of -5.5/5.5 and an over/under of 245.0. The Phoenix Suns are 3 – 0 against The Dallas Mavericks in the 2021-22 Season.

Monday, May 02nd Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns

The performance of Ayton was one of the primary reasons Phoenix was able to hold off a game Pelicans squad. The impending restricted free agent averaged 20.5 points and 9.8 rebounds on 70% shooting from the field. That included a 22-point peformance on 10-of-12 shooting in the series-clinching Game 6 win.

Ayton has a plus-level matchup against a Dallas team that lacks a legit interior presence. If he’s able to duplicate this, the Suns will come out on top and the youngster will earn a max contract during the summer.

However, it’s not all about Ayton when it comes to Phoenix’ supporting cast. Mikal Bridges was brilliant on both ends of the court — averaging 17.3 points and 1.5 blocks per game in Round 1. His two-way ability could loom large out on the wing with Dallas missing Tim Hardaway Jr. in this series.

Dorian Finney-Smith could be unexpected Dallas Mavericks player to step up

NBA: Utah Jazz at Dallas Mavericks
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a reason Dallas signed Finney-Smith to a four-year, $52 million extension on NBA trade deadline day back in February rather than dealing the 28-year-old forward. What he brings to the table on both ends of the court has not gone unnoticed.

This was evident in Round 1 with Finney-Smith averaging 11.0 points and 4.7 rebounds on 40% shooting from distance. We mentioned Bridges above. If Finney-Smith can counter what he does, it will end up being a net-positive for Dallas. At least, when it comes to the defensive end and the ability to knock down the three.

Related: Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul and NBA’s highest-paid players

The excellence of one Chris Paul

phoenix suns chris paul, dallas mavericks storylines
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best all-around players since entering the NBA all the way back in 2005, a lot has been made about Paul’s inability to win the title. He came close in his fist season with Phoenix and needs to hoist that trophy to complete what has been a stellar career.

As for what we’re seeing from the soon-to-be 37-year-old guard, it’s simply sensational. In fact, it’s beyond belief for someone his age. Including that perfect 14-for-14 shooting performance in Game 6 against the Pelicans, he’s been on a whole other level recently.

Still an elite-level defender, Paul will have his hands full with Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie against the Dallas Mavericks. With that said, the expectation here is that the Phoenix Suns will put Bridges against Doncic. That should free up Paul to concentrate more on offense.

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