Rapid Reaction: Suns 102, Mavericks 91
The Phoenix Suns limped into the American Airlines Center with the West’s worst record and a 10-game losing streak. They left with a victory over a Dallas team whose fate seems to be to fail to reach .500 for the rest of the season.
The Suns had runs of 21-4, 16-3 and 12-0. The last of those runs came in response to the Mavs' storming out of halftime to erase a 10-point deficit.
Dallas, which got into the bonus with 8:29 remaining in the fourth quarter, managed to trim the deficit to four with a couple of minutes to play but never got any closer. Phoenix’s P.J. Tucker hit the dagger 3 from the corner with 1:01 remaining to push the Suns’ lead back to nine.
Tucker was one of six Suns to score in double figures. Point guard Goran Dragic led Phoenix with 21 points and 13 assists, slicing through the Dallas defense on pick-and-roll plays all night.
The Mavs had only three players score in double figures against one of the NBA’s softest defensive squads -- Shawn Marion (22), Dirk Nowitzki (21) and Vince Carter (18).
What it means: The Mavs’ .500 beards will keep on growing while Dallas’ playoff hopes hang by a thread that could be snipped if the Los Angeles Lakers win in Portland late Wednesday night. The Suns improved to 24-55.
Play of the game: Suns center Jermaine O’Neal hit a midrange jumper early in the fourth quarter to extend the Suns’ lead to 14. It was a pretty ordinary play, but O’Neal’s celebration while jogging down the floor was extraordinary. He smacked Rick Carlisle on the rear as he ran by. Carlisle, who coached O’Neal in Indiana, did not appear to be amused.
Stat of the night: The Suns snapped two 10-game losing streaks. They had lost their previous 10 games overall and their previous 10 games at the American Airlines Center. The latter streak dated to March 14, 2007.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.