The Mavericks seem to be taking pleasure in giving the fans heart-pounding finishes, with huge fourth quarters and breakout performances. Against the Jazz, Jason Terry had his big surge in the final period. In this game against the Suns, the other Jason (Kidd) found his rhythm and led the Mavericks to their second straight road victory, winning 91-83 in Phoenix. The start was not quite as auspicious. In fact, most of the game looked pretty iffy, right up until the end.
At the beginning, Rodrigue Beaubois ran the offense along side Jason Kidd, and matched up reasonably well with the aged yet speedy Steve Nash. What seemed to bog Roddy B down was the pick and roll... he got very lost a few times there. But the REAL problem for the Mavericks in the first quarter was ball protection. They turned it over again and again, and most often without any help from the Suns. They couldn't seem to get their shots to fall, and dug themselves into a deep hole as they've been doing so frequently. They finished the first quarter down nine.
Immediately at the start of the second period, Dirk Nowitzki said "forget this nonsense" and drained a corner three. That was about the only positive thing in the first half of the quarter, save a technical foul called on Coach Rick Carlisle. For an extended period of time, Dirk was the only starter on the floor. Strangely enough, he was also the only one scoring. Well, him and the NBA star, Jose Juan Barea. As the quarter wound down, the Mavericks found a little more offensive rhythm and were able to climb to within three. Alas they couldn't get any closer, and right as the half ended, the Mavericks looked just as disheveled as ever.
The beginning of half number two was the Roddy B show... he sliced and diced and picked up three quick fouls. He hit a long two, then turned the ball over resulting in a Phoenix score. Then, he became the first Maverick to reach double figures. Then he got his fifth foul and sat down. All in about five minutes. In other news, Shawn Marion couldn't catch a pass to save his life, and Jason Kidd, though rebounding and passing like a pro, couldn't hit the broad side of a building with his shot. Nowitzki was essentially a no-show in the third, and Jason Terry didn't leave the bench.
A positive note in the third quarter came from none other than Barea. He was all over the floor, hitting shots and drawing fouls. It was he who was able to tie the game with just over a minute to go. They finished the period down just two, and considering they were shooting about 37%, that's pretty impressive.
The fourth quarter is generally known as Jet's quarter, and though he was shooting ice cold from the floor, Carlisle let him have a go. He came up with a big three to give the Mavericks their first lead, and then hit a pair of free throws to get it back after a Suns basket. Dirk didn't shoot well in the quarter, but his teammates, especially Tyson Chandler, picked up the slack around him. In fact, he picked up his 18th double/double of the season.
The game seesawed back and forth with no team leading by more than five points for almost the entire second half. With barely a minute left to play, the game locked in a tie at 83, Jason Kidd hit a three with the shot clock running out. Then he hit a three again. With 44.4 seconds on the clock, the Mavericks held a six-point lead. It was Kidd who went to the line on the ensuing foul, and he calmly nailed them both. That would be it for the Suns, who missed a three and let the Mavericks run the clock out to end it.
Some Quick Hits
- The Mavericks committed six turnovers in the first quarter, resulting in eight points for the Suns. Some were a result of pesky defense from the Suns, but others were just sloppy passes and lazy offense. As the game came to a close, the teams evened out and both finished with 15 turnovers.
- At halftime, the Phoenix Suns had scored 14 fastbreak points. The Mavericks scored exactly two. The Suns would finish with 22, and the Mavericks with just 12.
- The Mavericks relied WAY too heavily on their outside shots, scoring just 24 points in the paint. By comparison, the Suns scored 46. *tugs at collar
- Prior to the fourth quarter, Jason Terry shot 2-10 from the floor. In the fourth quarter, he went 3-6, and two of those shots were from behind the arc. He would finish the game with 16 points
- Jason Kidd went on an 8-0 run against the Suns to close out the game. He finished with 16 points as well, becoming the fifth Mav to hit double figures in this game.