Phoenix Suns-Dallas Mavericks Preview: Judgment Day

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Phoenix Suns-Dallas Mavericks Preview: Judgment Day
(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

4 April, 2009

To many Phoenix fans, tonight is Judgment Day for the Suns.  Tonight the Suns take on the Dallas Mavericks away from home.  This game could be the Suns' last chance to make up ground on the Western Conference Playoffs race.

So, here's a little match up between starters for both teams:

Point Guard:

Mavericks: Jason Kidd

Suns: Steve Nash

Kidd can command his team almost as well as Nash can.  They are both super stars of the NBA.  The big difference between the two men is this year's shooting statistics.  Kidd is not shooting like he used to and is having a very hard time from down-town. 

Nash on the other hand, is averaging over two points more per game than his career average.  And not to say that Kidd can't pass (because he does this very well actually) but Nash recently became ranked tenth in NBA history for career assists.

Center:

Mavericks: Erick Dampier

Suns: Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq has been having one amazing year and if you think that he is going to give up trying so hard this late in the season with this much on the line then you are sadly mistaken.  I would never disrespect Dampier. 

He is a great player, but matched up with Shaq's size, strength, and recently his accuracy (shooting AND passing), he will not be able to get his job done.

Power Forward:

Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki

Suns: Matt Barnes

Assuming Barnes will start since Barbosa will only be on his second game back from a hyper-extended knee, Dirk Nowitzki is going to have a field day.  Honestly, even if Barbosa was starting, Nowitzki would have a great night.

Although Barbosa has some quick hands and even quicker feet and Barnes is one of the most aggressive defenders on the team, they can not match up to the German-made machine they call "Dirk."  Not to mention that Nowitzki is having one of his best seasons this year.

Small Forward:

Mavericks: Josh Howard

Suns: Grant Hill

There is no guarantee that Howard will be playing tonight.  He did not play his last game against Memphis on Friday.  Since it is a pretty important game, I would think he would play though. 

Howard has been on fire—especially against the Suns, but I am going to give it to the experienced Grant Hill. 

He has been playing an amazing game of basketball this year and 'knock on wood' he has stayed healthy.  When Grant Hill is healthy, he gives his team a huge push.  And I'm not sure but I think that last game was not the first time Howard has been on the injured list this year. 

Maybe Hill will "break" that sore ankle of Howard's tomorrow (excuse the street ball terminology).

If Howard does not play, that leaves the job up to James Singleton.  No chance there.  He only scored seven points against the Memphis Grizzlies.  He will not be enough to take on Hill.

Shooting Guard:

Mavericks: Antoine Wright

Suns: Jason Richardson

Once again, no contest.  Richardson will probably have a huge night tonight.  Antoine Wright will not be able to match up with Richardson offensively or defensively.  Once again, looking at Dallas' last game, Wright only scored five points and played for over 34 minutes. 

Richardson has had a great streak of games, scoring somewhere in the area of 20 points per game.

Bench:

Mavericks: Jason Terry, Jose Barea, and Brandon Bass

Suns: Leandro Barbosa, Louis Amundson, and Jared Dudley

This is where the tide turns.  The Mavericks' bench players have been much more consistent and high scoring than the Suns' bench.  Although Barbosa is a great six man, Amundson bring vast amounts of energy to the game every night, and Dudley opens up another shooting option, they do not always do enough to help the team to a victory. 

Terry, Barea, and Bass however are all very skillful players and it is expected that they will all play a large role in tonight's game.

Overall, I am going to give it to the Phoenix Suns, 122-117.  The game will be aired live on ABC.

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