National Basketball Association
Phoenix at Dallas
When: 8:30 PM ET, Saturday, April 12, 2014
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
A playoff berth could be on the line when the Dallas Mavericks host the Phoenix Suns on Saturday as both teams sit on the cusp of the final two playoff spots, along with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Suns missed an opportunity to improve their chances by losing Friday night to the San Antonio Spurs, who were resting veterans Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Phoenix was without its own superstar, as Goran Dragic sat out with a sore ankle but is expected to be back against the Mavericks.
Dallas is also coming off a loss Thursday to the Spurs, who were without their other All Star, point guard Tony Parker, but still gave up 26 points to his replacement, Patty Mills. The Mavericks will face a similar speedy ball handler in Eric Bledsoe, who finished one assist shy of Phoenix’s first triple-double since 2006 in the loss to the Spurs, and Dragic’s return could make things even more difficult for Dallas. Mavericks guard Monta Ellis will likely need to burn a lot of energy on defense, so what he has left on the offensive end will be key.TV:
8:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV, FSN Arizona Plus (Phoenix), KENS HD (Dallas)ABOUT THE SUNS (47-32)
: If Dragic is unable to play, Phoenix has a capable replacement in Gerald Green, who scored 27 points as a starter against the Spurs. The Suns made 15 3-pointers when these teams first met Dec. 21, helping Phoenix to a 123-108 victory, and Green shot 4-for-8 from beyond the arc while coming off the bench in that one. The long-range shooting ability of power forward Channing Frye could also play a big role, as he joined Green with four 3-pointers in the Dec. 21 meeting.ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (48-32):
Jose Calderon struggled mightily in the latest meeting with the Suns, shooting 2-for-8 and scoring four points in a .110-107 road win on Jan. 17. Calderon will also be a key figure in trying to contain Bledsoe and/or Dragic, but they also need his consistent scoring to continue. He’ll be trying to reach double figures in six straight games for the first time in 2014.BUZZER BEATERS
1. If the Mavericks beat Phoenix, they will clinch the tiebreaker and be guaranteed to finish ahead of the Suns in the West standings.
2. The NBA rescinded the suspension of the Dallas public-address announcer for criticizing referees on Twitter for their performance in an April 1 loss to the Warriors and fined the Mavericks $25,000 instead.
3. Phoenix is trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010.PREDICTION:
Mavericks 103, Suns 100
Stats and Records