Mavericks 110, Suns 95
Shawn Marion's 1,000th game was like so many others in his 14-year career.
He scored. He rebounded. He combined with Dirk Nowitzki to lead Dallas to another victory.
It was the 10th straight home win for the Mavericks against the Suns, who haven't won in Dallas since March 14, 2007.
While Marion joined Nowitzki in the 1,000-game club, he won't ever get where the big German is on the scoring list. He's always been known for other things anyway, such as defense. He frequently guards the opponent's best player, and he also had five assists against the Suns.
''I pride myself in getting better every year I've played in the league and helping my teammates get better as well,'' said Marion, who played 660 games in Phoenix and had brief stops in Miami and Toronto before joining Nowitzki in Dallas in 2009. ''That's why I'm able to have such a long career.''
Nowitzki passed Iverson for 18th on the NBA's scoring list on a third-quarter jumper that stopped a Phoenix run, and his 3-pointer early in the fourth started a surge that put Dallas in control for good.
Phoenix, playing its fourth game in five days under interim coach Lindsey Hunter, rallied from a first-half deficit and made it interesting before fading in the fourth quarter for a second straight night in Texas after losing at Western Conference-leading San Antonio. Goran Dragic led four players in double figures with 18 points.
''We're pretty tired today,'' said Marcin Gortat, who had eight points and a team-high eight rebounds. ''Hopefully for the next game, we'll be more ready to play. It was a terrible first half.''
Nowitzki's third-quarter jumper was the first basket in a 6-0 spurt that pushed Dallas' lead back to double digits after Phoenix had trailed by as many as 20 in the first half. Nowitzki has 24,375 career points, seven ahead of Iverson. Patrick Ewing is 17th at 24,815.
Nowitzki stopped another Phoenix run in the fourth with a 3-pointer after the Suns had pulled within five, sparking a 10-0 run that put Dallas ahead 91-76. Brandan Wright, who entered just seconds earlier after sitting four straight games, converted a three-point play and Vince Carter hit two free throws before getting a steal that turned into a layup by Dahntay Jones.
''I'm starting to feel better,'' said Nowitzki, who missed the first 27 games after knee surgery. ''I have a little more pop on my jump shot. I have a little more lift.''
Wright was the fourth center used by coach Rick Carlisle, who decided to give rookie Bernard James his first career start. Wright's three-point play put Dallas' lead back in double digits for good with 10:30 remaining.
The lead was 17 with about 5 minutes left when Marion stripped a driving Dragic, and Darren Collison flipped the ball to Jones for an easy dunk and a 102-83 lead for the Mavericks, who are still on the outside of the playoff picture heading into a four-game road trip that ends in Oklahoma City.
''Honestly, this was as close to a must win as we have in the regular season,'' Nowitzki said.
Elton Brand played his 900th career game and finished with 12 points for Dallas.
The Mavericks, who had their eighth straight game with at least five double-figure scorers, had four different players score during an 11-0 run bridging the first and second quarters. Nowitzki hit a jumper, Carter and Rodrigue Beaubois had consecutive 3-pointers and Jones converted a three-point play for a 38-21 lead.
Dallas pushed the lead out to 46-26 on a layup from Chris Kaman and back-to-back buckets by Marion, who had six straight points in the second and finished the half with a game-high 12.
Collison, whose streak of 16 straight double-figure games ended, was scoreless on just one shot attempt in the first half but led Dallas with four assists before halftime.
The Suns settled for a lot of long jumpers and shot 38 percent in the first half, going 1 for 9 from 3-point range.
''When you put yourself in a hole like that and you finally dig yourself out, to sustain it takes a lot out of you,'' said Hunter, who fell to 2-2 since replacing Alvin Gentry. ''We just couldn't sustain it.''
NOTES: Most of the game was played with a two-man officiating crew after Leroy Richardson strained his right calf early in the first quarter and didn't return. ... The Mavericks decided to keep veteran G Mike James at the end of his second 10-day contract, which guarantees his contract for the rest of the season. He played just 1:28 of the fourth with the outcome settled. ... Eight of the Suns' first nine games under Hunter will be part of a back-to-back set. ... James' start made it the 17th different starting lineup for Dallas this season.