Mavs-Suns Preview (And Fish Pregame On ESPN)

In the Mavs' view, as long as the Phoenix Suns employ Steve Nash, they are still the Phoenix Suns. Ive got 103.3 ESPN Radio pregame duty at 7:30 and tipoff is at 8:30 tonight at the AAC ... and we start getting you ready right here:

The Suns' Key Stat: "Seven Seconds or Less'' lives. Unfortuntely for the Suns, that sort of offensive explosion happens on both ends. Phoenix' defense allows a league-worst 110 points per game.

Oh, and when the Suns don't get to 100? They are 0-7.

The Mavs' Key Stat: The Mavs are 4-1 on this season-long six-game road stand, with the Phoenix visit the final test. Coaches often section-off the season into chunks. With a recent 12-game win streak and this 4-1 record at home, a win tonight can allow Rick Carlisle's club to be pleased with its "chunks.'' That would mean 14 wins in 15 games , a 5-1 homestand and a 21-5 overall record almost a third of the way into the season.

The Matchup: The Suns were getting consistently outrebounded with center Robin Lopez (knee) sidelined; during his 14-game absence, Phoenix was outrebounded by seven or more in a game seven times.

Meanwhile, Tyson Chandler and the Mavs' "strength-in-numbers'' centers are coming off back-to-back games in which Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut and Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge got to the rim at will.

The History: Phoenix is 12-12 – that's right, the Mavs won as many in a row as Phoenix has won in total -- Phoenix has lost five straight at the AAC. … Steve Nash has a certain comfort zone in Dallas, where in his former home city the point guard (who had a season-high 19 assists in a Wednesday win over Minny) is averaging 17.8 points with 11.2 assists in the last five visits.

The Quote: They still have Steve Nash. He finds open guys, and they still have their shooters. They don't finish as well at the basket because of Amar'e, but they're still dangerous because they spread the floor so much." – Tyson Chandler.

The Lineup: The Suns-Mavericks matchup will tip off at 8:30 p.m., airing locally on TXA 21 and nationally on ESPN and also on 103.3 ESPN Radio -- and again, I'm up on ESPN at 7:30 ... And then it'll start something like this …

Phoenix Suns Dallas Mavericks
Steve Nash Jason Kidd
Jason Richardson DeShawn Stevenson
Grant Hill Caron Butler
Channing Frye Dirk Nowitzki
Robin Lopez Tyson Chandler

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