Rapid Reaction: Suns 96, Mavericks 94
How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks’ defense, the one aspect of their team they’ve been able to consistently count on this season, betrayed them.
Again. And Again. And again.
And that’s how the Mavs blew an 11-point second-half lead and lost to yet another sub-.500 team.
Phoenix 96, Dallas 94.
The Mavs led 74-63 with about four minutes left in the third quarter. Aided by the momentum of their 15-2 run to end the third quarter, the Suns played their best basketball to start the fourth quarter.
Rick Carlisle called a timeout with 2:55 left in the quarter, when the Suns pulled within six. He used a 20-second timeout 54 seconds later, when the Suns pulled within two.
The Mavs had used the offense of Vince Carter and -- surprise, surprise -- Lamar Odom to grab the lead. But it actually worked against the Mavs because the offense never really flowed through Dirk Nowitzki.
Late in the third quarter, Carter had taken 15 shots and Nowitzki had six. Even though, he was playing well, he shouldn’t have 2 1/2 times more shots than the Mavs’ best player.
The Mavs let Phoenix seize control of the game in the fourth quarter, when Sebastian Telfair hit a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 88-80, and after Shawn Marion missed a runner, Shannon Brown had a follow dunk that extended the lead to 90-80.
We shouldn’t be surprised the Mavs cratered in the fourth quarter. After all, the Mavs have exactly one victory this season when trailing after three quarters.
What it means: The Mavs have now lost the first game of their only back-to-back-to-back on this compressed 66-game NBA schedule this season. The Mavs are on the final leg of their nine-game, 12-day odyssey and are guaranteed a losing record.
Bold play of the game: With 14.3 seconds left in the game, and the Mavs needing a bucket to tie the score, Jason Terry was on the bench wearing a T-shirt over his jersey. Rodrigue Beaubois took his spot. He missed a runner and a jumper at the top of the key as time expired.
Stat of the game: The Mavs hadn’t had a defensive three-second technical in 17 games. Well, it’s time to begin a new streak after getting four of them in the first three quarters. How wild is that?
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about the NBA playoffs.
Play Podcast Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle gives his take on the contrasting styles of the Pacers and Knicks, Carmelo Anthony, Bulls-Heat, Tom Thibodeau, the state of the West and more.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about who he would rather have if forced to choose between Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
Play Podcast Tim MacMahon joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the possibility of Chris Paul joining the Mavericks and break down what kind of pitch Mark Cuban would have to make to the NBA's best point guard.
Play Podcast ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to touch on the storylines in the NBA playoffs and offer a Mavs perspective.
Play Podcast Rick Carlisle joins Chuck Cooperstein and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Mavericks' disappointing season and what needs to happen for them to get back to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Donnie Nelson joins Chuck Cooperstein and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Mavericks' season and the importance of this summer.
Play Podcast Rick Carlisle joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Mavericks playing after being eliminated from playoff contention, whom he wants to keep for next season and much more.