Final: Suns 97, Mavs 91

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

This didn’t exactly have much to do with the game played on the floor, but it was announced tonight that Derek Harper’s No. 12 jersey will be retired on Jan. 7. That date fittingly falls on a night when the Knicks — with whom Harper had some great years after leaving Dallas — are in town. Harper is one of the all-time great Mavs and stands out among a group of terrific point guards who have called Dallas home over the years, a group which includes future Hall of Famers like Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. Make sure you’re in town for that one, because it will be a special night.

On a night when one legend was being celebrated a couple thousand miles away, his connection with another remained strong. Kobe Bryant had his Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys retired in Los Angeles, and Dirk Nowitzki passed him on the all-time 3-pointers made list the same night. Dirk drained his 1,827th career trey in the first quarter to move past Kobe on the list. Although they only squared off once in the playoffs and otherwise never had too much in common, it’s cool that their unique connection with one another has carried beyond Bryant’s playing career. Dirk and Kobe are on top of basically all of the lists together. Two of the greatest of all-time.

Nowitzki also moved past Kevin Willis and into sixth place on the all-time games played list, at 1,425. A historic night for the Big German in American Airlines Center.


  • Harrison Barnes was probably the best player on the floor in this game, and that certainly helped his team on a night when unfortunately no one else could really get going from the field. Barnes finished with 26 points, 16 of which came in the opening half. Marquese Chriss drew the matchup against Barnes, and that’s a tough assignment for the second-year big man. Chriss is athletic for his size but he’s much bigger than Barnes and not quite as quick. It meant Barnes could get to the rim and create. That also held true against other Suns bigs including Dragan Bender and Alex Len, like in the play below.

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    Barnes is at his best when he’s able to attack those size and speed mismatches in space, and that was evident tonight. Unfortunately it’s tougher to create those situations with the Mavs’ current two-big starting lineup of Maxi Kleber and Dirk Nowitzki, but Dallas was able to manage it for large stretches of this game and that’s a big reason why the score was as close as it was. The rest of the club was able to find good shots, but they simply weren’t falling. Barnes was consistent, though, which at least kept them within striking distance at the end.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (8-23) will play the Detroit Pistons (17-13) on Wednesday at the American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.

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