Suns, Heat playing like the favorites in playoffs
PHOENIX » The Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat are top seeds in the NBA playoffs and at the moment they look like it, coming off impressive performances.
Both have a chance to take 2-0 leads in their respective series on Wednesday and are strong favorites to get it done, according to Fanduel Sportsbook.
In the Western Conference, the Suns have a 10-game winning streak against the Dallas Mavericks, counting regular season games, going into Game 2. Deandre Ayton scored 25 points, Devin Booker added 23 and Chris Paul had 19 in Game 1 in a balanced and mostly dominant performance.
The Suns were up 21 points in the fourth quarter before a Mavs rally made it a two-possession game in the final minutes. Phoenix held on for a 121-114 win and said the game taught them a valuable lesson.
“Just break the dang gas pedal, that’s it, just break it,” Ayton said, referring to whether Phoenix lost its focus with the big lead.
As for the Mavericks, they need someone to help Luka Doncic, who scored 45 points, had 12 rebounds and eight assists in Game 1. Coach Jason Kidd said others need “to join the party” if Dallas is going to make this a competitive series.
“We have been here before,” Dallas forward Dorian Finney-smith said. “Don’t overreact. We have to go back to the drawing board. We know how they are playing us now so we have to make our adjustment.”
In the Eastern Conference, the 76ers used plenty
of lineups against the Heat in Game 1, and will continue to seek the right mix without league scoring champion and NBA MVP finalist Joel Embiid — who will miss Game 2 with an orbital fracture and concussion.
Miami won Game 1 10692.
Going small worked at times for Philadelphia. When Miami figured out the counter, the game got away from the 76ers. But there were some elements that worked.
“The biggest adjustment for us is taking care of the darn ball,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said
Tuesday. “That’s being organized, being in the right spots, running your offense correctly . ... To get in the game and let that pressure take us out of that, it’s not disheartening but really troubling.”
And a Game 1 loss certainly didn’t hurt Philadelphia’s confidence. Backup center Paul Reed made that clear after the game.
“Honestly, I think we can definitely beat this team,” Reed said. “I think we go out there, be more physical than them and play more aggressive and keep them on their heels, they’re going to fold.”