The Suns blew out the Mavs in Phoenix yesterday. Is it an indicator of bigger problems, or just one of eighty-two? My observations on the game:
* Devean George does not look good. He either needs to get better soon, or the Mavs need to be prepared to play without him.
* I’d really like to know what Devin Harris did to piss Avery off yesterday. I know he had some foul trouble, but he only played 16 minutes.
* It seemed like the Suns could not miss yesterday…turns out they posted the highest one-game field goal percentage of any team ever to play a game in US Airways Arena.
* The Mavs looked lazy and slow.
Bottom line…if Phoenix plays like this in the postseason, they are the NBA Champions. However, I don’t believe that they can sustain the pace. The Suns have coasted through the last month, focusing only on the two contests with the Mavs. Will they be able to sustain that type of energy and focus for the 20+ games the playoffs are likely to require? I’m not convinced. I still wouldn’t be shocked if San Antonio knocked off the Spurs in Round 2. If the Mavs can survive the Rockets, then the advantage would be with them in the Conference Finals, as I believe the Spurs would be exhausted if they can beat the Suns.
I’m a bit worried that the Suns are in the Mavs’ heads. We saw how this could affect the team when the problem was the Spurs…do the Mavs still believe they can beat the Suns? Can they hold Amare below 80% from the floor?
Finally, memo to Avery: Sit Dirk. It seems apparent that he’s destined for off-season ankle surgery to remove the bone spurs that are reportedly bothering him. To avoid his ankles being jelly for the playoffs, it’s time to pull rank and tell Dirk to stay at the practice gym. The rather distracting (in my opinion) carrot of 70 wins is all but gone, and provided that the Mavs can win three more games (I’m factoring in one more Suns bonehead loss), they have the #1 seed wrapped up. Don’t give Dirk a choice. Give him a week off, then work his minutes up slowly in the last few games of the year. While you’re at it, you may as well rest Howard and Stackhouse. Have a D-League night at the AAC featuring the Big Three of Barea, Ager and Mensah-Bonsu. It’s been a hell of a season, and you’ve earned the luxury of rest due to superb play. Take advantage of it.