Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/2

Game 1: Saturday, November 2nd
Game 2: Friday, January 17th
Game 3: Saturday, March 22nd
Game 4: Wednesday, April 9th

Suns 83

(1-2, 0-2 away)

    7:30 PM ET, November 2, 2002

    American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHX 25 18 17 2383
    DAL 31 24 26 1697

    Top Performers

    PHX: S. Marbury 15 Pts, 6 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Stl

    Dal: D. Nowitzki 22 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl

    Dallas blows away Phoenix as Nelsons party

    DALLAS (AP) -- Del Harris is walking away from his stint as interim coach of the Dallas Mavericks with a perfect 2-0 record.

    Dirk Nowitzki

    Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks in scoring with 22 points.

    ''I say let Del stay out there until we lose,'' Mavs captain Michael Finley said with a smile following a 97-83 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.

    Coach-general manager Don Nelson and son Donnie, an assistant coach and the president of basketball operations, watched from a honky tonk in Fort Worth as they wrapped up a two-game suspension for attending a workout in Yugoslavia that featured players ineligible for the draft.

    ''I hope they had a good time at the bar,'' Dirk Nowitzki said.

    The Nelsons had to like most of what they saw.

    Playing at home for the first time since an overtime defeat against Sacramento in Game 4 of a second-round playoff series last season, the Mavericks never trailed by more than three, and that was in the opening minutes.

    Nick Van Exel hit consecutive 3-pointers in the final 27 seconds of the first half, including a halfcourt bankshot that was upheld by a replay, to put Dallas up by 12. Then Finley hit two 3-pointers and a jumper to spark a 14-3 third-quarter run that turned a lopsided game into a runaway.

    That run came soon after Raef LaFrentz hurt his right ankle when he landed hard after colliding with Jake Tsakalidis under the basket. It was called a sprain, but LaFrentz said he ''heard a pop.'' He left the locker room on crutches.

    ''We're still trying to figure it out,'' said LaFrentz, who started at power forward after starting at center in the opener. ''Hopefully, I didn't rupture it.''

    Steve Nash had 15 points and eight assists, and Eduardo Najera and Nick Van Exel each scored 13 off the bench. Shawn Bradley had 11 points, eight rebounds and three steals.

    Phoenix dropped its eighth in a row on the road, second this season. The Suns were coming off a victory at home Friday night.

    They started strong in the first quarter as Shawn Marion and Stephon Marbury combined for 16 points. The duo scored a total of three points in the middle two quarters, letting Dallas take over.

    Marbury, who went 5-for-17, finished with 15 points and 10 assists. Marion had 13 points and 10 rebounds and Tom Gugliotta had 13 points, hitting all six of his field-goal attempts.

    ''They're a good team, but we helped them out tonight,'' Gugliotta said. ''We just got bogged down on offense and made it tough on ourselves.''

    While the Mavericks have put an emphasis on defense this season and confused the Suns by switching from man to zone, most of Phoenix's problems were self-induced. They had 22 turnovers -- five each by Marbury and Penny Hardaway -- and were hardly in a game in which they outrebounded Dallas 49-34.

    ''They were able to turn turnovers and our bad shots into easy buckets,'' Suns coach Frank Johnson said. ''We played hard. Now we have to play smart.''

    The Mavs made sure not to have a fourth-quarter letdown like they did in the opener against Memphis, when they allowed 108 points.

    ''We learned,'' Finley said. ''We ended this game the way we should have.''

    The home opener in American Airlines Center featured several new wrinkles, including tests of the league's new video replay at the end of the second and third quarters.

    Also, player introductions were punctuated by fireworks shot from giant basketballs and the return of the Mavs ManiAACs, a group of hefty-sized male dancers who debuted in the playoffs.

    Game notes

    As they did for the opener, the Nelsons hosted a game-watching party. They switched themes from jailbirds to outlaws, and switched sites to Billy Bob's Texas. ... Bradley was called for a loose ball foul before the opening tipoff. ... The Suns took 19 free throws. They had only 30 the first two games after averaging a record-low 19.9 last season. ... Dallas won its fourth consecutive home opener. ... The Mavs signed Walt Williams to provide outside shooting, but he missed all four shots he took in 22 minutes. All were 3-pointers.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 83 97
    FGM-FGA 33-79 (.418) 34-78 (.436)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 9-20 (.450)
    FTM-FTA 13-19 (.684) 20-26 (.769)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-49 9-34
    Assists 19 21
    Turnovers 22 15
    Steals 6 11
    Blocks 7 4
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 20 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Stephon Marbury Marbury
    Points: 15
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 10
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 22
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0