NBA Global Games
Dallas Mavericks vs Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns are playing their next two games in Mexico City. The first is Thursday’s contest against the Dallas Mavericks (Enter Contest). It will be the second of three NBA Global Games this season. After two of the worst teams in the NBA square off, Phoenix will see a rise in competition level when it faces the San Antonio Spurs south of the border on Saturday. The Mavericks have previously played in Mexico City as they lost to the Houston Rockets 108-106 on December 6, 1997, in the first regular-season game played in Latin America. The altitude of 7,350 feet fits the Suns well for their back-to-back games against the older Mavericks and veteran Spurs.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (11-27)
Veteran power forward Dirk Nowitzki has played in Mexico City during the preseason but knows it is a totally different deal to play in a game that counts. Dallas is dealing with a three-game losing streak that included losses to the Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves to fall below those teams to the bottom of the Western Conference. Center Andrew Bogut (hamstring) is listed as day-to-day after being injured during Monday’s loss to Minnesota.
ABOUT THE SUNS (12-26)
Phoenix is the “home team” for both its games in Mexico City. The Suns lost 120-116 to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday after winning back-to-back games for the first time since November 2-4. The Suns recorded a 102-95 road victory over the Mavericks on January 5 to halt a four-game losing streak in the series. Point guard Eric Bledsoe scored 31 points this past Sunday in the loss to Cleveland. It was his sixth 30-point outing of the campaign.
Detroit Pistons vs Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors can still win without one of their four All-Stars on the floor, but they prefer to spend their time together. The Warriors expect to have Klay Thompson back in the lineup when they host the Detroit Pistons on Thursday.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr elected to rest Thompson, who had been battling an illness, on Tuesday and the Warriors still managed to earn a 107-95 victory over the Miami Heat, though they were less than their explosive best on offense. Star forward Kevin Durant led the way with 28 points. The Pistons appeared to be turning things around with back-to-back one-point wins but crashed hard on Tuesday while squandering an 18-point lead in a 100-94 setback at Sacramento. Detroit handed the Warriors one of their nine regular-season losses in 2015-16, but Golden State took the first meeting this season 119-113 on December 23.
ABOUT THE PISTONS (18-22)
Finding flow on the offensive end continues to be an issue for Detroit, which ranks in the bottom third of the league with an average of 21.1 assists and totaled 14 on Tuesday. Starting point guard Reggie Jackson totaled six assists and six turnovers in the last two games. Center Andre Drummond recorded a season-high seven blocks on Tuesday.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (33-6)
Golden State doesn’t have any problems with ball movement and leads the league with an average of 31 assists while setting the pace with 117.3 points. Starting point guard Stephen Curry handed out nine assists on Tuesday and continued a trend of being more aggressive in looking for his offense with 24 points on 21 shots. Curry, who got off to a relatively slow start for a reigning two-time MVP while stepping back to help integrate Durant into the system, was named Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday and is averaging 30.2 points and 6.2 assists in the last five contests. Durant is averaging 28.3 points in the last four games.