The Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks will face off in the second round. The Phoenix Suns will be favored in the matchup, but it certainly won't be a cakewalk for them, as the Dallas Mavericks are a good defensive team, spearheaded by offensive superstar Luka Doncic.
The primary defender on Luka Doncic will likely be forward Mikal Bridges, who was in the DPOY conversation this season. Luka Doncic is one of the most versatile offensive players in the league, and Bridges will likely have his hands full trying to contain him, as it's very difficult to flat-out stop superstars.
Ahead of the matchup, Luka Doncic raved about Mikal Bridges' defense, claiming that it is "amazing", and adding that he is impressed by the Suns' forward prowess on that end of the floor. He is far from the only person that has raved about the forward's defense this season, and some even believed that Mikal Bridges should have been an All-Star due to his defensive ability.
"His defense is amazing. He really impresses me ... He has long [arms], but I think he’s really smart on the defensive end."
There's no doubt that stopping Luka Doncic will need to be a team effort from the Phoenix Suns, but Mikal Bridges will definitely play a key role in their game plan. We have seen Luka Doncic score on even the best defenders though, so we'll see if Monty Williams can devise a plan that is effective against him.
The Phoenix Suns definitely have the talent to win the championship this year. They have a star backcourt featuring Devin Booker and Chris Paul, a dominant big man in Deandre Ayton, and an elite two-way player in Mikal Bridges. However, their road back to the Finals won't be easy, and currently, the Dallas Mavericks stand in their way to the championship. We'll see if they rise up to the challenge.