Indianapolis Star
National Basketball Association
Preview
Dallas at Phoenix
When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona

Both teams have highly touted rookies making their NBA debuts when the Phoenix Suns host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. Phoenix center Deandre Ayton is expected to be an impact player after being the top pick of the draft, while Dallas is high on guard Luka Doncic, the third overall pick who was acquired from Atlanta in a draft-night trade.

The 7-foot-1 Ayton is viewed as the type of player who can turn around a struggling franchise's fortunes and he says he is up to the task of reviving the Suns, who won fewer than 25 games in each of the past three seasons. "I don't take that as pressure at all," Ayton told reporters. "If I don't hear that, it means I'm not doing my job." The Mavericks are coming off their worst season since going 20-62 in 1997-98 and Doncic, who was the EuroLeague MVP last season, is one of the building pieces expected to help forge a turnaround. "I think I'm going to play my game similar to in Europe," Doncic told reporters. "It's a different game. We have some other rules, but I will play my game. I always say you can improve everything, so for me to be the player I want, I need to work hard every day and improve everything."

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS Southwest (Dallas), FS Arizona (Phoenix)

ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (2017-18: 24-58): Small forward Harrison Barnes will miss the opener due to a hamstring injury and coach Rick Carlisle said the team's leading scorer (18.9 average) from last season should be back by early next week. Franchise legend Dirk Nowitzki will miss the opener and could be sidelined the rest of the month as he continues his recovery from left ankle surgery in April. The 40-year-old Nowitzki is the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history with 31,187 points but he will be a reserve once he is healthy.

ABOUT THE SUNS (2017-18: 21-61): Standout shooting guard Devin Booker has been cleared to play in the opener after being sidelined the past five weeks due to undergoing surgery on his broken right hand. "Devin is doing great," first-year Phoenix coach Igor Kokoskov told reporters while revealing Booker was ready. "He's in a good place. Very vocal, very active, looks healthy." Booker averaged 24.9 points last season while being limited to 54 games due to injury and received a five-year, $158 million extension during the offseason.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Suns went 3-0 against the Mavericks last season and won the past five meetings.

2. New Dallas C DeAndre Jordan posted more than 40 double-doubles in each of the past five seasons.

3. Phoenix agreed on a one-year deal with SG Jamal Crawford, the 18-year veteran who ranks fifth in NBA history with 2,153 3-point baskets.

PREDICTION: Mavericks 105, Suns 101
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Dallas 0-0 L1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Phoenix 0-0 L1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Dallas Phoenix
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
4/10/18 PHO 124 DAL 97 97 40 38.1 124 46 63.2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Dallas J. Motley 21 47.4 3
Phoenix A. Peters 36 60.0 4
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Dallas K. Collinsworth 11 3 8
Phoenix D. Bender 13 1 12
Assists Player  
Dallas K. Collinsworth 8
Phoenix S. Harrison 10
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Dallas N/A
Phoenix N/A
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Dallas N/A
Phoenix N/A
Assists Player  
Dallas N/A
Phoenix N/A
Quickchart Matchup
Dallas Dallas Off vs  Phoenix Phoenix Defense
Dallas Off vs Phoenix - Points For 0.0 Points For
Dallas Off vs Phoenix - Points Against 0.0 Points Against
Dallas - FG% 0.0 FG%
Phoenix - FG% 0.0 FG%
Dallas - Reb 0.0 Reb
Phoenix - Reb 0.0 Reb
Phoenix Phoenix Off vs  Dallas Dallas Defense
Phoenix Off vs Dallas - Points For 0.0 Points For
Phoenix Off vs Dallas - Points Against 0.0 Points Against
Phoenix - FG% 0.0 FG%
Dallas - FG% 0.0 FG%
Phoenix - Reb 0.0 Reb
Dallas - Reb 0.0 Reb