The other day, I wrote that there were three key things that Dallas had to do to beat Phoenix. Let’s see how it worked out:
1. Donâ€™t let the Suns attempt more than 20 three point shots or shoot better than 35% from behind the line.
Dallas did well in the category. Phoenix was 5-15 (.333). They were somewhat offset in this category from their own poor 3-point shooting (3-16, .188) and by letting Phoenix score 32 fast break points.
2. Donâ€™t let Steve Nash score 20 points and/or have 10 assists.
Steve Nash ended up with 27 points and 16 rebounds. Dallas has to slow him down in both of these categories for them to win this series. If he puts up these numbers every night, then Dallas should start thinking about where they want to spend their summer vacation.
3. Outrebound the Suns
Dallas won the battle of the boards 48-38. They need to maintain this edge throughout the series.
So why did Dallas lose? Two things stick out to me. First off, they let Phoenix have WAY TOO MANY fast break points. Being outscores 32-12 in this category is terrible. Dallas was settling for too many jump shots. When they missed, Phoenix would chunk the ball up the court for an easy layup or dunk. Dallas has to keep Phoenix’s fast break points down around 15 or else they can expect the same result as game 1.
The other category that jumped out at me was free throws. Phoenix was 22-29 from the line. During the regular season they averaged 23.9 free throw attempts. Dallas has to keep them off the line. They are too good of a shooting team to allow them to take that many free throws.
Other keys. Dallas has to stop settling for three pointers. They weren’t falling in game 1, which kept Dallas from getting to the free throw line and opened up Phoenix’s fast break offense. Dallas also has to take care of the ball. During the regular season, Dallas averaged 12.2 turnovers per game. They can’t give Phoenix the ball 16 times again and expect to win.
Overall, I still think Dallas will win this series. They should win game 2 at home and then take back home court by winning either game 3 or 4. My previous prediction remains the same: Dallas in 6.