PHOENIX (AP) -- The Phoenix Suns went from their worst
performance of the season to their best in one night.
In the process, though, they lost their prize rookie, Zarko
Cabarkapa, for six to eight weeks with a broken right wrist.
Penny Hardaway scored a season-high 20 points, including four
3-pointers, leading the Suns to their highest point total of the
season in a 121-90 victory over Dallas on Wednesday night.
Stephon Marbury had his fifth consecutive double-double for the
Suns, finishing with 18 points and 12 assists.
The Suns, whose previous high this season was 100, won their
fourth consecutive home game and evened their record at 7-7, the
fourth time this season they have reached the .500 level, but the
victory was tempered by the injury to Cabarkapa.
The 22-year-old Serbian forward was hurt on a drive to the
basket with 2:58 remaining when he was pushed to the floor by Danny
Fortson with Phoenix leading 112-88.
Fortson was called for a flagrant foul and ejected.
Suns owner Jerry Colangelo was livid, claiming Fortson did it
"He's a thug," Colangelo said, adding that he would ask the
NBA to either fine or suspend Fortson. "He always has been and is.
"He should be put down for every day that he (Cabarkapa) is
out. I'll do everything in my power to see that happens. With the
game over, there's no excuse for that."
Fortson said there was "no evil intent" for his actions, and
added that he apologized to Cabarkapa.
Dallas coach Don Nelson said Fortson's push was unnecessary.
"I'd like to apologize to the Phoenix Suns organization on that
... play by Danny Fortson," he said. "I don't condone those kinds
of things. It was just a bad basketball play that shouldn't have
happened and Danny and I will talk about it."
Marbury called Fortson's action "a dirty play."
"He was definitely trying to push him," he said.
The Suns' aggressive play and sharpshooting against the
Mavericks was in sharp contrast to their performance Tuesday night
when they were beaten by 30 points at Denver.
The Suns, taking advantage of the absence of Dallas' high
scorer, Dirk Nowitzki, and the 3-point accuracy of Hardaway, bolted
to a 63-47 halftime lead, their highest scoring half of the season.
Hardaway ended both the first and second quarters with
3-pointers just before the buzzers and was 4-of-5 overall from long
range in the half in leading both teams in scoring with 14 points,
Nowitzki, the Mavericks' leading scorer with a 20.6 average,
left the game with 4:45 remaining in the first quarter when he
sprained his right ankle while falling to the floor after being
called for a charging foul. He did not return.
When Nowitzki departed, the Suns led 17-15, and by the end of
the period, they were ahead 26-23 on Hardaway's last-second
They expanded their lead in the second quarter by scoring 37
points, their best period of the season, and twice led by as many
as 20 points. Again, Hardaway finished it off with a running,
one-handed 3-pointer just before the half expired.
Marbury had 12 points at the half and White contributed 11
points and a season-high 11 rebounds.
Jamison came off the bench and topped Dallas with 13 points.
Walker had 12 and Finley 11.
The Suns kept pouring it on in the third period, scoring 32
points, their second-highest total of the season, and twice built
their lead to as many as 29 points.
Shawn Marion, the Suns' third-leading scorer (15.5) and
second-best rebounder (7.4), was sidelined with a left ankle
sprain, sustained in Tuesday night's loss at Denver. ... Dallas is
8-0 at home, but only 2-5 on the road.