At least there was plenty of scoring tonight. The Suns hung in there until the finish behind a Gerald Green scoring explosion, but suffered their 7th loss in the past 8 games versus the Mavericks tonight, 107-104. With the loss, the Suns were officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Tonight's game went quite differently from last night's destruction at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks. As they've proven in their three wins over the Mavericks heading into tonight, the Suns match up well with Dallas. It's also apparent the Mavs aren't in the upper echelon of playoff teams; they figure to be fairly easy first round fodder in the Western Conference.
Both teams scored easily all night, and it was a back and forth affair with 14 lead changes and 16 ties. The Suns failed to compete for long intervals of last night's game, but that wasn't a problem tonight as this one came down to the last shot.
At 103-102 with under 90 seconds to play, the Mavs missed three jumpers badly as the Suns gave up two offensive rebounds before a Dirk Nowitzki airball gave it back to Phoenix with 56 seconds remaining. Green missed a 3, Rondo grabbed the rebound, then Nowitzki nailed a 3 with 23 seconds to go to effectively seal the deal at 106-102.
The Suns had a few more shots to tie it, though. Down 107-104 with under 10 seconds, Keef missed a 3, Bledsoe missed another, then P.J.Tucker stepped out of bounds. Then a stolen inbounds pass gave Keef another open 3 that he missed short. And it was over.
Early on, Gerald Green exploded for 13 first quarter points, and Keef poured in another 9 as the Suns raced out to a 30 point first quarter. Neither team played strong defense in the quarter, or throughout the game. The Mavericks ended up shooting 48% to 49% for the Suns.
As per usual with Green, he keeps shooting no matter what, even more so when he's hot. He ended up with the game-high 19 FGAs, some of them (including his late missed 3) of the "hero ball" variety. Still, he led all scorers with 30, and made 5-10 3-pointers. Who knows what the future holds for soon to be free agent Green? But he's had a few nice games here down the stretch.
The Mavs were led by Monta Ellis' 20, Dirk Nowitzki had a relatively quiet night with 19 (though he nailed that key, late 3), and Tyson Chandler devoured any rebounds in his area, snagging 23 to go along with his 12 points. With only Green, Archie Goodwin and T.J. Warren playing off the Suns bench (no Earl Barron), the Suns went small, and the Mavs took advantage by winning the battle of the boards, 47-37.