Can Suns stay hot vs. Dallas?
After a disappointing road trip, the Phoenix Suns got back on track at home their last time out.
The Dallas Mavericks opened a road-heavy stretch with a heartbreaking defeat.
Looking to continue their home success, the Suns try to win a third straight regular-season matchup with the Mavericks for the first time in nearly 15 years Friday night.
Phoenix (22-16) concluded a 1-4 trek with three straight losses before opening a season-high five-game homestand with Wednesday’s 121-114 win over the Lakers. Gerald Green had a season-high 28 points, Markieff Morris scored 24 off the bench and the Suns shot 49.0 percent after hitting 39.5 during the road trip.
"It’s great to see guys hitting shots, but it’s really great to finally get a win," Green told the team’s official website after shooting 12 for 18. "We needed a win desperately."
Channing Frye added 20 points and Goran Dragic had 18 to go along with a season-high 10 rebounds and seven assists. The Suns had a 53-43 advantage on the boards after getting outrebounded on every game of the trip.
They also had a season-high 64 points in the paint to overcome tying a season low with four 3-pointers in 19 attempts. That matched their second-worst percentage (21.1) of the season, but it was also just the second time in two months they attempted fewer than 23.
"We started attacking the rim," said Frye, who has scored at least 20 in four of seven games. "We have great guys that go to the rack and I think sometimes we settle for the jumper, me included. We’ve got great shooters, but I think, understanding the game, we need to get to the rim. We need to be aggressive, take advantage of mismatches and get out and run."
Phoenix, averaging 108.1 points at home compared to 99.4 on the road, is 19-5 when scoring at least 100 and has won eight of 10 on its own court. One of those victories came against the Mavericks, 123-108 on Dec. 21 behind 22 points from Green.
The Suns, who won at Dallas on April 10 to avoid a season series sweep, hasn’t won three consecutive regular-season games versus the Mavericks since taking nine in a row March 2, 1997-April 16, 1999.
While Phoenix had its highest-scoring game of the season last month against Dallas, the Mavericks (23-17) recorded theirs Wednesday but had a three-game win streak snapped with a 129-127 road loss to the Clippers. Dallas led by 17 with just under five minutes to play, then was outscored 23-4 the rest of the way – including 11-0 over the final 2:51.
The start of a stretch in which they play five of six on the road saw the Mavs lose for the fourth time when leading by as many as 17.
"We might be the only team to find a way to lose this one," forward Dirk Nowitzki told the Mavericks’ official website. "We’ve just got to find a way to win it. Get a couple stops here or there, and I’ve got to make one or two shots. There’s no way we should lose this game."
Nowitzki had 27 points, Samuel Dalembert scored a season-high 20 and Monta Ellis had a season-high 13 assists. Former Suns star Shawn Marion scored 14 in his first game back since missing four with a shoulder injury.
"When you score 127 points, it should be a walk-away win," Marion said. "We had it in our hands to win. We couldn’t get stops at the end and we couldn’t make shots the last two or three minutes."