Suns and Mavs have been in a fierce duel since the start of the series and it’s time to give us a winner. See you from 2 a.m. for a legendary Game 7 but, until then, how about a little preview?
Who will therefore challenge the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals? Rather the favorite, Phoenix, or the outsider Dallas? The Suns may well receive, we all know that a Game 7 is 50-50 and we will have to go on the field with a steely mind and a warm hand. We’re stepping out of our classic preview format to analyze this final round through three big questions that should provide an overview of this series and what awaits us tonight. Arizona and Texas fans, here’s something to keep you busy before the start of hostilities.
# Time to wake up for Chris Paul?
But what happens to Chris Paul? Absolutely masterful in the first two games, like his season, the leader no longer seems to know how to put one foot in front of the other. Is it the fact of having blown out the 37 candles between Game 2 and Game 3 that disturbed CP3? We didn’t know it was an age that could do so much harm. It feels like the monstars stole his skills and he’s been really tough in the last four games. So here we are gathered for Game 7 in Arizona and we are laying the foundations right away: Phoenix needs a Chris Paul in top form so as not to be unnecessarily scared. At the moment it’s hanging at home and Devin Booker is monstrous to run the shop but it would be cool to give him some support. The executives have to set the tone and no one is better placed than CP3 to do that. He is the most experienced, he is the captain clutch in the money time, he alone changes the face of Phoenix and he perhaps holds in his hands the future of the 2021 finalist. Nothing says that the scenario of the Game 5 is not going to reproduce with a collective that step-up as it should but the Cactus would undoubtedly be more zen if the Point God showed its best face.
# Who to play Factor X?
This is the question in Madame Irma mode and fans of both camps are of course free to come and give us their opinions in the comments. A Game 7 is not a game like any other and it can elevate any player to hometown hero status with an action, a performance, even a towel shoot if that proves useful. We are talking about the X factor so we are not talking about a Devin Booker or a Luka Doncic, we need one or more guys who are not at the top of the bill but who can and must step-up. The kind of player where you say to yourself in the morning: do you remember so and so’s shot that gives us the +5 at 10 seconds from the end? Thanks buddy! On the Phoenix side, two names quickly come out of the hat. We want Mikal Bridges to be on a mission on Luka in defense but he also has the right to score on the other side of the field. Its contribution is currently insufficient and it is expected at the turn. Another boy who has a big role to play and it will not surprise anyone: Deandre Ayton. The Bahamian pivot has the potential and the matchup to destroy the Mavs inside and, even if he has not been unworthy in this series, we feel that he can still do violence and go up a notch.
On the Mavs side, the performances of each make many names come to mind. Jalen Brunson is obviously among them. After a very dirty start to the series, the lieutenant of Doncic has put his head back in place and the Mavs are oddly much better. Dorian Finney-Smith also has a good X-factor face with his relentless defense and good shooting combo. If we get his Kawhi Leonard version of Game 4, Dallas already has a much better chance of passing. Finally, we throw a little word on Frank Ntilikina, who scratches his minutes thanks to his defensive qualities. We don’t expect to see him put out 20 points tonight but if he can make sure Devin Booker doesn’t plant 45, the Texas fans will give him a big thank you.
# Finally a close match?
+27 in Game 6, +30 in Game 5, without forgetting a small +20 in Game 2, we can’t really say that this series offers us money time with a knife every night. Each team knows how to be respected on its field and that sometimes gives real lessons for the opponent. The narrowest gap between the two teams is seven points and, chance or coincidence, it was in Phoenix! What give us some hope for an outcome on oxygen tonight? We suspect that every fanbase would prefer to see their team flex their muscles and throw a beating to avoid cold sweats but it’s a Game 7 and, for the magic of the Playoffs, it needs an end under pressure and with crazy suspense. You need salt, you need a game winner or an action that marks the fans in mode, that’s where we saw that the Suns had the heart of the champion or that’s where Dallas showed that he had its place at the top of the bill now. Phoenix is logically favorite to reach the next round but given the current difficulties of the Suns, Dallas has every chance and the gap is not that great. Hopefully we’ll say the same when watching the scoreboard at the start of the fourth quarter.
Phoenix or Dallas, Suns or Mavs, that’s the big question to answer and both teams have 48 minutes to give it their all and join the Warriors in the Conference Finals. See you at 2am for a duel of madness.
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