Phoenix Suns vs. Dallas Mavericks Preview and Pick

Phoenix Suns (18-7) at Dallas Mavericks (17-9), 9:30 pm Eastern Wednesday, ESPN
by Matt of

Two Western Conference powers square off in a possible playoff preview as Steve Nash and the Suns take on Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs at the American Airlines Center in Dallas TX , Wednesday night on ESPN.

Phoenix is fresh off handing San Antonio their first home loss of the season, 100-95 on Monday while Dallas has reeled off three wins in a row, sneaking past Orlando 111-108, also on Monday night. On the season, the Suns are 11-4 on the road and the Mavericks carry an 11-2 home record heading into this match up.

Winners in 7 of the last 10, Phoenix currently enjoys a 3 game lead over the Lakers in the Pacific Division, and Dallas is looking up only at San Antonio in the Southwest where they trail the Spurs by 2.

The Mavericks opened as a 3.5 point favorite at some books, but the line sits at 3 as of Wednesday morning including the Offshore Books. Dallas can be found on the money line at -165 to -170, while Phoenix sits at +145 to +150. The over/under total for the contest is 216.

Both teams have similar records against the spread in 07 with the Mavs at 11-15 and the Suns with one less L at 11-14. Dallas sits at 6-7 ATS at home while Phoenix sports a 7-8 mark so far ATS on the road. A deeper look at the line info shows the Suns 8-6 ATS having one day of rest, as is the case here.

This game matches two high powered offenses with the Mavs averaging 101.8 ppg and the Suns at 109.2 points a contest. The o/u is 16-10 in the Dallas games this year with those games averaging 199 points, while Phoenix games average 213 points and the o/u is 13-12 against the total. When Dallas is playing at home, the o/u is 10-3.

The teams split their 4 meetings last season with each taking a game on the others home court. Dallas holds a 6-4 edge straight up in the last ten tilts for this series. Last season, these match ups averaged 220 points in the three regulation games. Phoenix took a March 07 OT game 129-127, a 256 total.

Both teams appear at full strength for the game Wednesday with neither team reporting any significant injuries following their games completed on Monday.

Amare Stoudamire and Steve Nash make for one of the best twosomes in the NBA with Stoudamire and his 20.5 ppg a direct beneficiary of Nashs 12.0 assists per. Dirk Nowitzki has a complete floor game and leads Dallas with 8.3 boards a game, while Josh Howard has come on to lead the Mavs in scoring at 21.8 ppg this year.

The Suns are shooting just shy of 50% on the year from the floor with a 36.6% mark from behind the arc and 78.7% at the line. Dallas is shooting at a 46.9% clip, 34.4% from three and has the edge at the stripe converting on 83.6% of attempts.

The Sagarin ratings at has the Suns ranked 5th in the NBA at 95.24 compared with the 7th ranked Mavericks at 94.49.

With a win against the Spurs already in their pocket, can Phoenix complete the Texas Two-Step or will the Mavs apply the SPF and have a day in the shade versus the Suns?

Matt’s Pick: Take the Mavericks at -3.