Suns at Mavericks, 5 p.m., FOX Sports Arizona Plus
Phoenix visits seventh-place Dallas in game with massive playoff implications.
The Suns will be looking to take the West's seventh seed and the season tiebreaker from the Mavericks on Saturday.
Jerome Miron / USA TODAY Sports
By Randy HillFOX Sports Arizona
While maintaining a seeming commitment to keeping things interesting, the Suns will resume their quest for a playoff bid Saturday night against the Mavericks in Dallas.
It will be the first trip to Big D for the Suns, who have split two games with Mavs at US Airways Center this season. In addition to the conference's seventh seed, tiebreaker status between these teams is at stake.
The game will be televised on FOX Sports Arizona Plus, with the pregame show beginning at 5 p.m. FOX Sports Arizona Plus channel listings are as follows:
Century Link Prism
Century Link Choice
Cable One (Prescott, Cottonwood)
Suddenlink NPG (Flagstaff, Bullhead City, Kingman, Lake Havasu, Parker, Payson, Sedona)
Mediacom (Apache Junction)
Western (Robson Ranch, Saddlebrooke, Sun Lakes, SunBird)
This season: The Suns' victory over the Mavericks came with significant contributions from point guards Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe didn't play in the game Dallas won.
What to watch: Although the Mavs have a relatively small backcourt with 6-foot-3 Monta Ellis working at shooting guard, having Jose Calderon on the floor with him means one of the Suns' hotshots should have considerable lane access.
The Suns have been impressive at moving past the thrill or agony of their last game all season. But with injury leading to excessive minutes for some key players on Friday, how much juice will they have?
Key variable: While the status of Dragic and his sprained ankle will carry considerable weight in determining the outcome of this game, the Suns' ability to defend on the second night of back-to-back shifts could determine their playoff viability. The veteran Mavericks are fourth among NBA teams in offensive efficiency and second in 3-point percentage.
Phoenixâs lack of awareness in regard to over-helping and leaving high-percentage shooters open proved costly Friday night in San Antonio. With Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki drawing attention on drives and isolations, respectively, the Suns' on-ball defenders must be solid enough against these two players to allow teammates to remain attached to the likes of shooters such as Calderon and Vince Carter.