Mavericks 97, Suns 94

Fans were guaranteed a good time or their money back at the

Phoenix Suns’ game against Dallas.

They were not guaranteed a victory, and they didn’t get one –

just another failed Phoenix comeback.

A tough, fall-away 21-footer by O.J. Mayo proved to be the

difference as the Mavericks handed the Suns their fifth loss in a

row, 97-94 on Thursday night.

It was a nice bounce-back for a Dallas team beaten by 22 by the

Clippers in Los Angeles 24 hours earlier, the Mavericks’ fourth

loss in five games.

”After playing a game last night we could have made a lot of

excuses for ourselves as far as we had a tough game last night and

didn’t play well, but we flushed it and we came today with a lot of

energy,” Mayo said.

Mayo scored 23 points, including that go-ahead jumper with 35

seconds to go. Brandan Wright and Darren Collison scored 16 apiece

for Dallas. Wright’s total was a season high. Chris Kaman added 15

points.

”We played one of our strongest-willed games,” Dallas coach

Rick Carlisle said. ”Difficult situation, losing time coming off

the back-to-back and a rough one last night. Everybody played with

a lot of heart, a lot of guts. It was really a war of attrition out

there with the injuries and all the stuff going on. Everybody hung

in and we found a way and it’s a huge win for us.”

Markieff Morris had 15 points and a career-best 17 rebounds for

the Suns, who rallied from 15 down in the third quarter to tie it

in the final minute.

Kaman (sprained ankle) and Shawn Marion (strained right groin)

left the game with injuries for Dallas, as did P.J. Tucker

(sprained knee) and Jermaine O’Neal (eye) for Phoenix.

The game was played on ”money-back guarantee night,” when

those who bought a ticket could get their money back if they didn’t

have a good time. The Suns said it was the first promotion of its

kind in the NBA.

It was the first game back for Phoenix after a 1-5 road trip

that included a strong game at Memphis, where the Suns led by 16

before losing in overtime. One of those losses was a 40-point

blowout in Detroit. The others all went down to the wire.

”It’s always the same story,” the Suns’ Goran Dragic said.

”We came up short. … When you’re down so many points and you’re

battling, your energy is going away because you’re trying to get

back in the game.”

Morris’ 3-pointer cut Dallas’ lead to 87-85 with a minute to go,

then Shannon Brown stole Collison’s pass and was fouled. Brown made

two free throws with 48.5 seconds left to tie it at 87.

But with Sebastian Telfair guarding him closely, Mayo knocked

down the tough shot to put the Mavericks back ahead for good.

Dragic, who scored 15 points but shot only 5 of 14, missed an

open driving layup that would have tied it.

”He (Mayo) made that tough shot and we missed an easy layup,”

Dragic said, ”and there goes the game.”

Dallas sealed it with eight free throws in the final 19.3

seconds – four by Collison and four by Vince Carter.

Trailing 44-40 at halftime, the Mavericks ran past Phoenix 23-4

to start the third quarter, opening a 63-48 lead with 3:50 to go in

the period. Mayo sank his third 3-pointer of the night – in four

tries – and Wright, who had not played in three of the previous

four games, made consecutive baskets, on a dunk and a layup, to cap

the outburst.

Phoenix missed 13 of its first 14 shots in the quarter and went

7 minutes without a field goal.

Dragic and Tucker hit 3s to bring the Suns out of their funk

enough to cut the lead to 69-62 after three.

Jared Dudley opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, then

Telfair’s layup cut it to 71-67. Consecutive baskets by Wright

boosted the lead to 81-71 with 5:40 to play.

NOTES: Fans with single-game tickets who decide they didn’t have

a good time can fill out a form to get a rebate. … Telfair was

back after missing one game following the death of his father. …

Morris had nine rebounds in 9 minutes during the first quarter. …

Phoenix is 5-4 at home, Dallas 3-7 on the road. … The last road

win for both teams had been at Cleveland. … Morris’ previous

career best was 11 rebounds against Dallas in his rookie season a

year ago. … The Suns’ Michael Beasley was 3-of-12 shooting for

nine points and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.