Final

Phoenix wins series 4-2 (Game 4 of 6)

Phoenix wins series 4-2

Game 1: Monday, May 9th
Mavericks102Final
Suns127
Game 2: Wednesday, May 11th
Mavericks108Final
Suns106
Game 3: Friday, May 13th
Suns119Final
Mavericks102
Game 4: Sunday, May 15th
Suns109Final
Mavericks119
Game 5: Wednesday, May 18th
Mavericks108Final
Suns114
Game 6: Friday, May 20th
Suns130Final
OT
Mavericks126

Suns 109

(62-20, 31-10 away)

Mavericks 119

(58-24, 29-12 home)

8:30 PM ET, May 15, 2005

American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

1 2 3 4 T
PHX 22 28 29 30109
DAL 30 36 27 26119

Top Performers

PHX: S. Nash 48 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

Dal: J. Howard 29 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

Nash scores 48, but Mavs contain his mates

DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks did exactly what they wanted to do defensively, even while watching Steve Nash score 48 points.

While the league MVP and their former teammate scored almost at will, the Mavericks were finally able to neutralize Amare Stoudemire and the rest of the Phoenix starters.

"We felt that if we could allow [Nash] to score and not have all those other guys become involved in the offense, it would give us a better chance to win the game," Jerry Stackhouse said.

The plan worked and the Mavericks won 119-109 in Game 4 on Sunday night, evening the Western Conference semifinal series 2-2.

Game 5 is Wednesday night in Phoenix.

Nash had a playoff career high in points, and the most by anyone this postseason. He took advantage of openings created by the Dallas strategy to double- and triple-team Stoudemire.

Nash had just five assists, along with nine turnovers -- which like his points was the most ever by an opposing player against the Mavs in the playoffs.

Dirk Nowitzki finally snapped out of his postseason shooting slump, scoring 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting. And Josh Howard did more than chip in with 29 points and 10 rebounds.

Howard kept going to the basket, scoring on layups, drawing fouls and grabbing offensive rebounds. He finished with 10 rebounds -- six of them on the offensive end.

"He's our energizer," Nowitzki said. "He was all over the place."

Much like Nash used to do for the Mavericks before going to Phoenix last summer.

Nash scored 23 points in the third quarter, including 16 straight for the Suns.

"They changed their game plan, and I had to be aggressive to make them pay for the way they were playing," said Nash, who prefers sharing the ball. "We got outplayed and outhustled."

While Nash made 20 of 28 shots, the Mavs finally stopped Stoudemire, who had scored at least 30 points in three straight games with plenty of rim-rattling dunks -- including seven Friday night when the Suns won 119-102 in Dallas.

In Game 4, Stoudemire had more fouls (5) than field goals (3), none of them dunks. He scored nine of his 15 points on free throws.

"They were not going to let Amare beat them," Jim Jackson said.

Just about every time he touched the ball, Stoudemire was surrounded by at least two Mavericks.

Still, Stoudemire managed to make a lucky shot, throwing up a ball that went in after Nowitzki was called for a foul, though the replay showed it was actually Jason Terry that hacked the 22-year-old center.

While Stoudemire missed the free throw, the Suns got the ball back and Quentin Richardson drove for a slam dunk that made it 95-86. But Phoenix wouldn't get any closer in the final 10 minutes.

Nowitzki entered the game shooting just 38 percent in the playoffs -- his season average was 46 percent -- and was 16-of-42 the last two games.

Erick Dampier, the foul-plagued Mavericks center criticized by Nowitzki earlier in the series, had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

"When they're saying you're the weak link, it's a great time to prove everybody wrong," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said.

Johnson had pledged that Dampier would keep playing, even if he got in early foul trouble. That wasn't even a concern until after halftime, when the Mavericks had a 66-50 lead.

Dampier made all five of his shots for 10 points and eight rebounds in the first half, and didn't have his second foul until 2:15 remained. By the time Dampier missed his first shot and then had two fouls in an 11-second span early in the second half, he had already helped set a positive tone inside for Dallas.

Stackhouse had 22 points off the bench for the Mavericks.

Phoenix got no help from its reserves, with all but three points coming from the starters. Leandro Barbosa played 22 minutes, while Walter McCarty and Steve Hunter only combined for seven minutes of action.

Joe Johnson, the Suns' third-leading scorer, is recovering from surgery on an eye injury sustained in Game 2. That has pushed Jim Jackson into the starting lineup, and he had 11 points while playing 44 minutes.

Richardson was the only Suns starter to play less than 43 minutes, and he had 13 points in 34 minutes. Shawn Marion had 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Game notes


Nash's playoff high, set with Dallas, was 31 points. The most points he had scored in his first season with Phoenix was 33 points. ... Bonzi Wells had 46 points against Dallas for Portland in the playoffs two years ago. ... In the first half, the Mavericks got 14 of their 26 field goals on layups and dunks -- five by Dampier, six by Howard. ... Dallas' halftime lead was its largest of the postseason. ... Johnson won't play in Game 5, and his status for the rest of the playoffs is still uncertain.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PHX
DAL
Points 109 119
FGM-FGA 42-82 (.512) 46-83 (.554)
3PM-3PA 8-21 (.381) 6-14 (.429)
FTM-FTA 17-23 (.739) 21-29 (.724)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-37 16-43
Assists 16 21
Turnovers 15 15
Steals 7 8
Blocks 3 4
Fast Break Points 13 19
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/1) 23 (1/0)
Largest Lead 4 21

Top Performers

Phoenix
Dallas
Steve Nash Nash
Points: 48
Reb: 5
Ast: 5
Stl: 3
Blk: 1
Josh Howard Howard
Points: 29
Reb: 10
Ast: 2
Stl: 2
Blk: 0