Shawn Marion rises against the Suns
Thursday, December 6
Former Suns' All-Star Shawn Marion led Dallas with an 18.5 scoring average in four games against Phoenix last season. Look for that trend to continue in their first matchup of 2012-13 at US Airways Center.
Dirk Nowitzki will still be on the shelf for this game, so Marion's scoring role should again be a flashback to his glory days in Phoenix. Fellow veteran Vince Carter may also be featured after scoring 15.3 PPG against the Suns last season, surprisingly just a shade under Dirk's 16 PPG.
This season, Phoenix runs out a pair of former Houston Rockets in Luis Scola and Goran Dragić. In three games last season, Scola averaged 19.7 PPG against Dallas and the Mavs still don't have an answer for him.
Dragić, who averaged over 20 PPG for Houston last season against Dallas, will present another tough assignment for the Mavs' point guards. Dragić currently leads Phoenix in scoring, assists and steals. Dragić will also be feeding center Marcin Gortat, who averaged a Suns-high 18.5 PPG against the Mavs in 2011-12.
You don't need to double-check those numbers by the way. Marion and Gortat, both known for their defensive prowess, suddenly turn into scoring machines when the Mavs and Suns collide. It shows how unpredictable this particular game is.
The Suns won the last matchup 96-94 last March, and that game was also in Phoenix. However, the Mavs had won the previous eight contests in the series, often in lopsided fashion.
It's the second game in two nights for Dallas, but a short plane ride from Los Angeles to Phoenix.
Prediction: Dallas wins a squeaker at Phoenix and Mavs improve their record to 9-10.