Game 65: Mavs vs. Suns

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Highlights: Mavs vs. Suns

Check out all the top plays from Saturday night's game against the Suns.

DALLAS — Hoping to conclude their five-game homestand with a 5-0 record, the Dallas Mavericks stepped onto their own court with plenty of confidence Saturday night.

Capturing their first four games of the homestand and looking to build on Friday’s 105-96 victory over Brooklyn, the Mavericks tried to keep trending in the right direction just 24 hours later. The Mavs also attempted to continue building momentum before traveling to the East Coast for four straight games, looking to conclude a back-to-back on their home hardwood with a fifth straight victory. But after a last-second 100-98 loss, the Mavericks (28-37) ended their homestand in disappointing fashion.

“We’ve been playing really well, but obviously, we’re not going to win them all. You know, it’s a tough league against tough teams. And we didn’t play necessarily well either night,” 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki admitted after the Mavs slipped to 2-11 this season on the second night of back-to-backs following the loss. “Yesterday, we flirted with a loss. You know, we were still down in the fourth at times against a young and athletic team. And the same again today. We didn’t play great, we didn’t shoot the ball real great from the floor, and sometimes that sets you up to get a loss. That’s what happened tonight.”

After splitting the first two matchups against the Suns (22-44) this season, the Mavericks tried to get out to a fast start in front of their hometown crowd. The Mavs also tried to make up for the absence of backup big man Nerlens Noel (left calf soreness) for the second straight game, hoping to get more from the starting lineup.

Nowitzki would then get his team going in the right direction, scoring the Mavericks’ first nine points in the midst of a 9-4 start to the game. The 13-time All-Star moved into double figures quickly after that, shouldering the Mavs’ early scoring duties. But after a three-pointer by Suns sharpshooter Devin Booker tied the game at 13-all midway through the opening quarter, the visitors took the lead before sliding into the second stanza with a 25-24 edge.

Needing every bit of Nowitzki’s 13 first-quarter points to remain close, the Mavericks quickly retook the lead after undrafted rookie Dorian Finney-Smith’s corner three-pointer to open the second period. Nowitzki then went back on the attack, draining another vintage jumper to put the Mavs up 29-25.

The Dallas lead then surged to 32-26 after sixth man Devin Harris’ triple with 8:30 left in the half. But despite the best efforts of Nowitzki, the Suns remained an arm’s reach away later in the quarter while pulling to within two.  The Mavs then leaned on Nowitzki’s 19 points and eight rebounds to escape into the intermission with a 47-45 edge.

Led by Nowitzki’s 8-of-9 shooting, the Mavericks held the halftime lead while being outshot through two quarters, 45 percent to 38.9 percent. The two teams also battled to a 20-all rebounding stalemate, combining to commit 15 turnovers in the half.

“We came in here after the first half, and it was frustrating,” leading scorer Harrison Barnes said. “You know, it was a number of missed layups, and I think I had like two or three. It was missed shots that didn’t drop, but at the end of the day it was at the defensive end. They were just getting everything.”

Seeing the Suns retake the lead early in the third quarter, Mavs swingman Wesley Matthews was assessed a technical foul with 10:40 left in the period after arguing with officials. Matthews then immediately redeemed himself at the other end, swishing a corner three-pointer to put the Mavs back in front.

The Suns refused to go away quietly, however, taking  57-54 lead after Booker’s three from the wing. But with Barnes upping his aggression, the home team continued to go basket for basket with the Suns at the other end of the floor. Still, the Suns surged into the fourth quarter holding a 72-69 lead with 12 minutes left in regulation.

Charging to within two, 74-72, after Nowitzki’s timely jumper, the Mavericks tried to stage a comeback in the final period. But after a long rebound ended with a three-pointer by sharpshooter Jared Dudley at the other end, the Suns kept the Mavs at bay in the period.

Nowitzki again tried to put the team on his broad shoulders, switching a midrange jumper to make the deficit three. Barnes lent some assistance a short time later, trimming the separation to just one at 77-76. Back-to-back threes by Finney-Smith and veteran reserve J.J. Barea followed to put the Mavericks ahead. And after Barea’s put-back score, the Mavs held an 84-81 edge with 5:37 still on the game clock.

The Suns continued to fight, though, charging wthin one after a three-point play by Booker over Harris and a trey from Eric Bledsoe the next time down the court. Booker then put the Suns back on time at 90-88 with another three-point play over Mavs point guard Yogi Ferrell. But after Ferrell’s two free throws with 3:45 remaining, the two teams were once again evenly knotted.

The teams remained tied from there before the Mavericks surged to a slight advantage. Harris then tried to deliver a dagger, drilling a three from the top of the key with 2:03 remaining to give the Mavs a 96-92 lead. But after back-to-back scores by Booker, the squads were once again even at 96-all with 1:16 left.

Barnes then connected on two free throws with 1:01 remaining, leading to another driving score by Booker at the other end to tie the game as just 46.4 ticks appeared on the clock. The Phoenix defense took it from there while collecting a stop, sending the ball back to the Suns with a chance to take the lead. And after calling timeout with 10.1 seconds to work with, Booker sealed the win for the Suns with a turnaround jumper over Matthews as time expired.

“You know, that’s on me,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of the last possession. “We should have double-teamed the guy the whole fourth quarter, so that’s my fault. I’m taking full responsibility for this whole thing. And next year when we play these guys again, we need to consider double-teaming him earlier in the game.”

Scoring 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting, Nowitzki also grabbed 11 rebounds to record his seventh double-double of the season in the loss. Barnes added 23 points and seven rebounds in the first unit, and Harris scored 14 points off the bench. Ferrell pitched in 13 points of his own in a starting role.

Booker led four Suns in double figures with a game-high 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting.  The Suns also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 46.9 percent to 37.8 percent, overcoming Dallas’ 48-39 rebounding edge by forcing 13 turnovers.

“We had our chance to win, but I don’t think offensively is what it came down to. It just came down to the fact we couldn’t get a stop defensively,” Harris admitted. “It’s tough. [Booker] was getting friendly calls, so it’s kind of tough when you push up on him on the drive. And he’s a great shooter as well, so he just made some tough shots. We tried to do our best on him, but he had it going.”

“We’ve got to get this one back,” Nowitzki confessed. “We’re in a tight playoff race, and we’ve got tough teams and a tough road trip coming up. Hopefully we can steal a few games there.”

Note: The Mavericks will now travel north of the border for Monday’s matchup against the Toronto Raptors. The game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.

The Mavs return to their home floor on March 21, hosting the Golden State Warriors. Golden State leads the season series 2-0. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Nerlens Noel (left knee soreness) — out

J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — probable


All Stats

D. Jones, Jr., F 26 1-3 0-1 0-0 1 6 7 1 0 0 1 4 -4 2
T. Warren, F 33 6-12 0-0 4-5 3 6 9 1 0 1 0 5 6 16
M. Chriss, C 23 2-4 1-2 0-0 0 8 8 1 0 3 1 5 3 5
D. Booker, G 34 12-20 2-5 10-10 1 4 5 2 0 0 1 2 16 36
E. Bledsoe, G 30 4-16 1-5 3-3 0 2 2 6 1 1 4 3 17 12
J. Dudley 21 2-5 2-5 1-2 0 1 1 0 2 0 1 0 -10 7
A. Williams 26 5-7 0-0 0-0 0 5 5 1 0 1 1 2 2 10
T. Ulis 28 4-11 0-2 0-0 0 3 3 5 1 1 0 1 -3 8
L. Barbosa 15 2-5 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 2 -12 4
T. Chandler 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B. Knight 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Len 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Price 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Bender 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   38-83 6-21 18-20 5 35 40 18 5 7 11 24   100
    45.8% 28.6%                      

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All Stats

W. Matthews, F 34 1-6 1-4 4-4 3 4 7 3 1 0 1 5 -16 7
H. Barnes, F 36 5-16 0-1 13-14 3 4 7 1 0 0 1 1 -9 23
D. Nowitzki, C 30 10-14 1-2 2-3 1 10 11 2 0 0 1 2 14 23
S. Curry, G 33 1-8 0-3 1-1 0 3 3 3 0 1 2 1 -17 3
Y. Ferrell, G 27 3-7 1-3 6-6 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 3 -6 13
S. Mejri 15 0-2 0-0 2-2 1 6 7 0 0 2 1 1 -3 2
D. Powell 9 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 1 -4 2
J. Barea 15 2-9 1-4 0-0 1 1 2 4 0 0 3 0 14 5
D. Harris 22 3-8 3-7 5-6 0 3 3 2 0 1 3 3 -1 14
D. Finney-Smith 13 2-3 2-2 0-0 1 4 5 1 0 0 1 0 13 6
N. Brussino 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Hammons 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M. Harris 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
N. Noel 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Uthoff 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   28-74 9-26 33-36 10 38 48 17 2 4 13 17   98
    37.8% 34.6%                      

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Nowitzki Good From Arc

Dirk Nowitzki spots up and knocks down the three.

Quick Passes From the Mavs

Dirk Nowitzki catches and shoots from the free throw line.

Curry With the Assist

Seth Curry gets the ball and spins on two defenders to find Wesley Matthews in the corner for three.

Mejri Gets the Block

Salah Mejri runs the floor and gets the block.

DALLAS — Moving to 4-0 on their current five-game homestand Friday after pulling away from the Brooklyn Nets late for a 105-96 win, the Dallas Mavericks will now try to bring a difficult back-to-back on their own floor to a victorious close 24 hours later.

Looking to finish off an unbeaten homestand without a blemish, the Mavericks (28-36) will attempt to extend their winning streak to five for the first time this season. The Mavs will also try to come out with more energy in front of their home crowd, looking to learn from a lackluster start Friday against the lowly Nets. But after splitting the first two meetings of the season series against the Phoenix Suns, the Mavericks know they will have their hands full once again in the finale of a pivotal homestand.

“You know, (Saturday) is going to be the same type of challenge,” Mavs leading scorer Harrison Barnes said after posting a team-high 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting and seven rebounds during Friday’s win. “You can chalk this up to a couple of days off or maybe a little hangover from the celebration the other night, but (Saturday night) is going to be the exact same thing. So, we have to come ready and be aggressive, knowing that this team offensively might be a little more talented.”

Wrapping up a home-home back-to-back, the Mavericks will try to build momentum before venturing out for four straight games on the road. The Mavs will also try to learn from the previous two matchups against the Suns (21-44) after falling to a 102-95 home loss on Jan. 5 and redeeming themselves one week later with a 113-108 victory in Mexico City.

Led by point guard Eric Bledsoe’s 26 points and seven assists, the Suns got the better of the Mavericks in the first meeting between the two teams at American Airlines Center. The Mavs then returned the favor with a balanced performance in front of the Mexico City crowd, overshadowing sharpshooter Devin Booker’s game-high 39 points. That said, the Mavericks anticipate being tested again for 48 minutes Saturday night, attempting to contain the Suns’ high-scoring backcourt.

“I mean, Bledsoe is tough, and Booker is an up-and-coming young talent who made some shots against us. But Bledsoe really down the stretch made some big shots,” 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki admitted. “You know, [Bledsoe] is so good attacking the basket that we mixed it up some going under, and at the end of the game he had a little rhythm there. … At that point he just had a little rhythm, so hopefully we’re going to keep mixing it up on him. As you do on great players, you know, keep him guessing all game long. Maybe be aggressive on him here and there, and just mix it up. And we’ll see if that’s a little more successful.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on Saturday night to complete a back-to-back, hosting the Phoenix Suns. The season series is tied at 1-1. The game will tip off at 8 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Nerlens Noel (left knee soreness) — out

J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — probable