In a classic battle of "unstoppable force meets immovable object", your Dallas Mavericks (20-27) dropped the hammer on the Phoenix Suns (16-31) late after trailing for most of the game. Darren Collison lead the way for Dallas, with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Goran Dragic was brilliant in defeat, posting totals of 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists.
Okay, so I may have been kidding about the force and object stuff. What we really have is two teams that aren't very good, or in the case of Dallas, not very consistent. The Mavericks needed this win, if only for their mental frame of mind.
The Mavericks started the game looking like a team who got to their Phoenix hotel at 3am, taking and missing long two point shots and letting the Suns get out to an early lead. Darren Collison finally got the lid off the bucket for Dallas with his second banked three pointer of the week. Collison followed that shot up with another three from the top of the key soon after; Phoenix opted to go under screens when defending Collison early. The Mavericks were unable to stop Goran Dragic in the pick and roll and played a little too fast and loose with the ball, committing six first quarter turnovers. The mid quarter substitution of Vince Carter gave Dallas a bit of a spark as he hit a tough three and posted up Dragic for a lay up in back to back possessions. The Mavericks managed to close the lead to two points by the end of the quarter, trailing 29-31.
Mike James started the second quarter for Dallas in typical Jamesian fashion: after brilliant defense from Dallas, James attempted a fast break lay up in traffic that was so high off the glass it didn't bother to hit he rim. The Mavs started the period cold and Phoenix took advantage, pushing their lead to seven off of a Shannon Brown three. The lead stayed at seven until Carlisle opted to sub Collison back in for James, and Collison promptly got two free throws and passed to a trailing Jae Crowder for three which closed the Phoenix lead to two. Unable to stop Dragic, the Mavs were unable to chip into the lead until O.J. Mayo tied the game at 50. Though Dallas was unable to take the lead, they took a 54-54 tie into the locker room.
The Mavs shot 6 of 13 from deep and 8 of 9 from the line, keeping them in the game despite committing 13 first half turnovers and surrendering 10 offensive rebounds. The Mavericks were also able to block 8 first half Phoenix shots. Dragic led the Suns with 14 points and 6 assists while Collison led Dallas with 12 points and 3 assists.
Dallas started the third in a fashion similar to the first two quarters, with disinterested and sloppy play. Darren Collison committed a turnover in the back court by stepping on the sideline with 10:48. Little did I know this was the last Maverick turnover until 12 seconds left in the game. Dallas finally took a lead around the nine minute mark via an Elton Brand jumper. Phoenix responded with an 11-0 run over the next four plus minutes. Somehow, though, Dallas rallied with a 10-0 run of their own, powered mainly by bench players, including Mike James and Bernard James. The Mavericks actually managed to take a lead after an O.J. Mayo-Brandan Wright pick and roll, but Shannon Brown free throws gave Phoenix the lead as the teams headed into the final frame.
The teams traded buckets for the first few minutes until Vince Carter broke an 81-81 tie with a big three pointer. Dallas would not lose the lead again. Darren Collison entered for Mike James with seven and a half minutes in the game and proceeded to take over. Though Phoenix did manage to score buckets, Collison always seemed to have an answer, dishing out three assists and scoring seven points in the quarter. The Mavs were able to grab six offensive boards in the quarter and held Phoenix to zero. Couple that with no turnovers (until O.J. Mayo stepped on the baseline as the Mavericks were trying to run out the clock), and Dallas controlled the final quarter, which was an impressive turnover after the sloppy first half. Dallas took home the lead 109-99.
-Is the Rodrigue Beaubois experiment over? Is it tabled? This will be interesting to watch. Mike James had a strange game: 1 for 9 from the floor with 4 points, 5 assists, and three turnovers. I don't see him as the answer for back up point guard. I'd rather showcase Roddy.
-Jae Crowder shot the ball very well tonight (5-7 from the field). It's these really great performances that make his year long stats look reasonable. I still don't like how many long jumpers he shoots
-Darren Collison shook off a Carlisle play call in the fourth. I hope he makes it through the night alive.
-Rather impressive that Dallas put up 109 points while only scoring 6 in transition.
-This was fun, but when is Dirk coming back?