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Mavericks End Home-Stand With a Win Over Suns 106-91

The Dallas Mavericks completed their longest home-stand of the season, 5-1 overall, with a victory over the Phoenix Suns.  The Mavericks have now won seven of the last nine games against the Suns, including the last six at home.  Dallas led 48-42 and used a 22-6 run from the 1:05 mark of the second quarter through the 5:17 mark of the third period to take a 70-48 advantage on the way to a 106-91 win.  The Mavericks also completed an impressive stretch by winning 14 out of their last 15 games.

The game took an unfortunate turn at the 7:17 mark of the opening quarter as Phoenix point guard Steve Nash went down with a stinger.  He was going for a loose ball and his head collided with Tyson Chandler's hip and Nash fell to the ground, laying motionless for several moments before heading back to the locker room.  "I was trying to actually avoid the contact – try to just get the ball and avoid it," said Chandler when looking back at the situation. "But he dove in and his head ran right into my hip. And as soon as we made contact, I knew it wasn’t gonna be good for him, because my hip was hurting and it was his head obviously."  

Nash initially lost feeling in both arms & legs. X-rays eventually turned up negative and he hasn't ruled out playing Sunday for the Suns.  "The game certainly changes without Nash, there’s no question," said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. "He’s one of the best players ever…I hope he’s OK. He’s one of I think everybody’s favorite players to watch. So, we hope that he’s OK."

Phoenix had a surge after that to wrap up the quarter, but Dallas had Jason Terry and Shawn Marion lead the charge in the second quarter for the Mavericks to take control in the game.  Those two bench players scored 26 of the Mavericks' 32 points in the second quarter and really allowed the Mavericks to push forward through the rest of the game.  The impressive part of it is that it was done as Dirk Nowitzki had to leave the game due to foul trouble early in the second quarter. Terry finished with 18 points on the night, and all of Marion’s 15 points came in the first half.  The Mavericks improved to 7-1 on the year when both Terry and Marion come off the bench to score in double figures.

"Shawn and I always communicate, on and off the court," Terry explained. "And so, that chemistry is there. I know where he’s gonna be at on the floor, he knows where I’m at. And it helps us out there, especially on the offensive end."  Terry's fellow running mate off the bench shared the same sentiments, "We’re just feeding each other," said Marion. "We’ve kind of got a sense of where we’re gonna be at, and we’re ready to come in and provide that energy on both ends of the floor. And that’s what it’s gonna take to get us to the next level."

Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry shared game-high scoring honors with 18 points each and starter Caron Butler continued his solid scoring with 17 points and added 7 rebounds.

The Mavericks held the Suns to 17 points in the second quarter, as well as the third quarter.  Phoenix is still a dangerous team, with or without Nash, and the Mavericks knew they were still in for a battle but things worked out for them in the end.  "They had some threes that they missed that were goods looks. I thought we contested a lot of them and took them off a lot of them. But again, it’s a good win even without Nash out there, because they have a lot of other really good players. But it's not the same game," Carlisle said.  

The Suns implemented the "Hack-a-Wood" strategy late in the 4th quarter and Haywood went 1-6 in the situation.  The Mavericks had to wait out the process until they could substitute Ian Mahinmi in the game.  Haywood was frustrated as he left the court.  He practices free throws daily and he hits a majority of them in practice, he just needs to find a way now to translate it to game action.  The 4th quarter also saw the Mavericks have the luxury to sit Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler the entire time.  Caron Butler played just a few minutes before being substituted out.  Jason Terry and Shawn Marion were the only Mavericks who logged 30 minutes of game action.

The Mavericks will take a day off on Saturday and then look ahead to a difficult back-to-back in the Sunshine state.  They'll play the Miami Heat on Monday Night and head to Orlando to play the Magic on Tuesday.  Since falling, 106-95, to the Mavericks on Nov. 27, the Heat has ran off 11 straight wins. The defeat to the Mavericks also triggered a players only meeting and since then, they haven't looked back.  They've really found their groove and have been one of the better teams in the league in terms of offense and defense.  All three of their superstars are clicking and that makes things problematic.  The Mavericks certainly know that the Heat will be out to give them their own unique thank you as the two teams collide on South Beach.

"It’s gonna be a very challenging game for us," Carlisle said looking ahead to Monday. "I’m sure they’ll be thinking revenge and all that stuff. But we’ve got a day off, we’ve got a day to practice and then we fly.  It’s a challenge we’re looking forward to."


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