Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/26

Game 1: Wednesday, November 26th
Game 2: Monday, March 8th
Game 3: Saturday, March 13th
Game 4: Saturday, April 3rd

Suns 121

(7-7, 6-3 home)

    Coverage: FSSW

    7:00 PM ET, November 26, 2003

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    DAL 23 24 23 2090
    PHX 26 37 32 26121

    Top Performers

    Dallas: A. Jamison 17 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Phoenix: S. Marbury 18 Pts, 3 Reb, 12 Ast

    Marbury has fifth straight double-double

    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 intentionally.

    "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."

    Hardaway agreed.

    "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.

    Joe Johnson topped the Suns with 21 points, Cabarkapa had a season-high 17, Casey Jacobsen a season-high 14 with three 3-pointers, Jahidi White 12, and Amare Stoudemire 10.

    Overall, the Suns hit 9-of-15 3-pointers and shot a season-high 54.7 from the field (41-of-75).

    Reserve Antawn Jamison led the Mavericks with 17 points, followed by Antoine Walker and Michael Finley with 14 apiece. Steve Nash, averaging 13.5 points, was 1-of-8 from the field and scored two points.

    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 3-pointer.

    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.

    Game notes

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 90 121
    FGM-FGA 34-86 (.395) 43-79 (.544)
    3PM-3PA 7-28 (.250) 10-17 (.588)
    FTM-FTA 15-19 (.789) 25-30 (.833)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 15-32 17-52
    Assists 15 26
    Turnovers 12 17
    Steals 8 7
    Blocks 2 3
    Fast Break Points 1 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/1) 18 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Antawn Jamison Jamison
    Points: 17
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Stephon Marbury Marbury
    Points: 18
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 12
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0