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So this is what the evolving pick-and-roll is supposed to look like. The Phoenix Suns won their second game in a row and like they did against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday manufactured up-tempo...

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The Suns' guards had their mojo working and got enough defense and help from Markieff Morris to seal the win in Dallas, 118-106.

This matchup had all the makings of a signature win for the Suns, even without Isaiah Thomas for the fifth straight game. The Mavericks, despite all their efficiency on offense, are notorious for their inability to defend opposing guards. The Suns' strengths are stacked heavily in the backcourt so ... these are good odds, right?

Right.

Suddenly it appears that the Indiana game was no aberration. The Suns look like the Suns again, and the Slash Brothers are back at it. The Mavericks' extraordinary offense was suddenly ordinary, as the Suns' effort was palpable and the rotations were crisp. When the Slash Bros are slashing and the defense is defending, this team can put a hurtin' on anybody.

Monta Ellis was virtually unguardable, dropping in 33 points on 22 shots, but didn't get enough help to stem the tide of the Suns' lethal combination of guard penetration and devastating 3-balls. Dirk Nowitzki was held to a paltry 2-10 from the field for 10 points, while Chandler Parsons and Jameer Nelson only managed an inefficient 20 points on 22 shots.

Meanwhile, the Suns torched the nets to the tune of 57% from the field and 13-26 from 3. Goran Dragic led the way with 28 points on 10-15 from the field (3-6 from 3) with 13 assists, with Markieff Morris chipping in a solid 22 points on 8-15 from the field, plus getting the lion's share of defensive duties on Nowitzki and responding spectacularly.

Eric Bledsoe added 19 points and 7 assists, with Gerald Green notching 15 points on 3-7 from 3.

The Mavs hadn't lost a game this year in which they scored over 100 points, and the Suns had only won once in the last 12 visits to Dallas. Sometimes history doesn't mean a damn thing. This was one of those times.

The road trip couldn't have started much better than this, with the Suns leading the whole way and scoring a resounding victory on Dallas' home floor. There will be little time to rest as another formidable Western foe awaits in Houston a mere 24 hours from now, but for the time being, savor this win. The Suns are still the Suns, and they haven't gone anywhere.

Rejoice.

Game Notes

1st Quarter

  • Kieff makes midrange jumpers look like layups
  • Took 1:11 for Dirk to draw a foul from 15 feet away. Clearly he's losing his touch
  • Two turnovers in 1:26 that bounced off of the appendages extending from Miles Plumlee that resemble arms and hands
  • Monta have it all
  • Bledsoe/Dragic fastbreak off a deflection by Plums! Of course they converted. 9-6 Suns in the earlygoing
  • Oh my Tucker. Corner 3, 14-6 Suns
  • 2 ORebs by the Suns, finally results in a Dragon 3. Mavs are second-worst in the NBA at defensive boards
  • Suns defending well. Mavs aren't clicking
  • Ellis confirms with a lackadaisical long 2
  • Dragic carves em up with a driving layup, driving lanes are open for business thus far. 26-12 Suns
  • Tolliver and Len in, Kieff and Plumlee out. Interesting
  • Richard Jefferson is still an NBA player. Even weirder, he still draws fouls
  • Mavs guards have no hope of staying in front of the Suns' guards
  • Dragon is breathing fire from 3 lately. 33-16 Suns
  • Tolliver for 3! What's the highest-scoring 1st quarter for the Suns this year? I should probably look this up about now. 36-16 Suns
  • Steve Albert confirms that this is the best 1st quarter thus far this year. Not my preferred source unless I'm looking for a good tanning salon, but whatever
  • Is this 1983? Two palming violations called already, one on Monta and one on Gerald. (That rule is broken on virtually every possession)
  • Marcus isolated on JJ Barea -- falls over and loses ball. Wait, what?
  • Mavs make a mini-run to make it 40-27 after one. What a start for the Suns, though

2nd Quarter

  • Fast starts make me nervous. Stay strong, Phoenix
  • Gerald does not agree with this notion. Thunderous transition dunk off a turnover he created
  • Brandan Wright hasn't missed since 2011. 44-31 Suns
  • EJ teasing Dirk for neglecting to contest Green's dunk. "Ok here we go, gonna meet you at the top ... um, no."
  • JJ Barea is getting bailed out by the refs. This makes no sense. Kudos to Bled for keeping his mouth shut
  • Bled goes past Barea like he's by himself. Dallas showing zero perimeter defense or rim protection. 50-34 Suns
  • Not sure how much credit the Suns' defense deserves. The Mavs' offense looks like the opposite of what it has been all year -- unimaginative and stale
  • Kieff does exactly what you DON'T do when threatening to blow out the other team -- leaves his feet and turns it over, leading to a Mavs transition 3. 50-39 Suns
  • Suns suddenly look slow of foot -- Mavs beating them down the floor on offense
  • Kieff drills a 3 with no hesitation. The 'no hesitation' part is just as important as the 'drills' part
  • Green lazily goes under the screen on Nelson, who makes him pay from 3. 53-44 Suns
  • Suns are now 8-10 from 3 after Green and Bledsoe connect on b2b possessions. Surely they can't keep this up, right? 59-44 Suns
  • Markieff drives into Tyson Chandler like he has never heard of Tyson Chandler before. Draws two freethrows
  • Jeff Hornacek's wardrobe is courtesy of The Clotherie
  • OH MY GERALD. Reverse jam on the break, courtesy of Dragic. Play was facilitated by an awful shot attempt by Ellis on the other end
  • Ellis counters by getting past Bledsoe and the Suns' D WAAYYYYY too easily
  • ...and adds a pullup 3 for good measure. 62-51 Suns
  • ...but then plays WAAYYYY too far off Dragic and gives up a 3. Indeed, Monta have it all
  • Giving up points to JJ Barea sucks, and will always suck. 68-55 Suns
  • Ellis goes coast-to-coast on Gerald Green and makes it look effortless. Bit of a kick in the nuts to end the half, but Suns are up 69-57. Couldn't reasonably ask for a better half

3rd Quarter

  • 31 points, 13 assists for the Slash Brothers. Mavs are gonna make a run at some point -- D must stay strong
  • Dragic goes old-school off the glass after a DAL turnover
  • Still not seeing the characteristics of this vaunted Mavs offense. Looks like one or two passes and then someone either hoists a J or flails towards the rim
  • Tucker drains a cornerball on a busted play. 74-61 Suns
  • Plumlee launches himself into Chandler on a made 3 by Ellis. This can only mean one thing: an unnecessary break in play while the refs check out the replays from Secaucus, NJ
  • Mavs convert a 4-point play off of Plumlee's overzealousness. Stupidity is the bane of every lead in the NBA. Gotta play smarter
  • Kieff puts Parsons in the torture chamber, Kevin McHale style
  • Kieff might be the key to holding onto the lead. He gets another mismatch on Ellis and turns it into 2 FT's. 80-70 Suns
  • Mavs are scrapping for every inch now. This is gonna be a hell of a game to close out
  • Off-topic: the purple and orange combo has never popped more than it does on these current road unis. Will always hate the butt-stripes, though
  • Mavs offense finding it's mojo. Ellis to Wright on the alley-oop and no one in a Suns uni even complicated matters. Lead still stands, 86-76 Suns
  • Dragonshake for 2!
  • Dirk draws a shooting foul on Kieff when Kieff reaches too far in. Only the 957362837th time Dirk has done this
  • The game has become a bit uglier, much more competitive, but the Suns still hold a 91-80 lead
  • Bledsoe to Len for the dunk! Please let me type this more often!
  • Mook defends Dirk successfully twice in a row
  • Bledblock in transition! Oh my lord! How did Steve Albert think that was Mook??
  • 93-86 Suns after 3. This is pretty much the most important 4th quarter of the Suns' season thus far. Sink or swim, fight or flight, insert your own cliche here

4th Quarter

  • 40 points so far for the Slash Brothers + Green. This bodes well for the good guys
  • No matter what events unfold during the game, EJ acts as if he predicted it all along
  • Parsons splits a pair of FT's, Mavs continue to chip away. 95-89 Suns
  • Bledsoe's pocket-passing continues to show improvement. Leads to a pair of FT's for Kieff
  • Green's scowl is in full force tonight. Wasn't happy about the officiating as he heads to the bench
  • Suns get the transition game working again -- first Goran then Tucker. Both off badly missed shots by Dallas. 101-89 Suns!
  • The Dragon is breathing fire and the defense is killing it. At this point I'll be supremely disappointed if the Suns don't close this one out
  • The Mavs have gone cold at the perfect time. Parsons and Ellis both brick wide-open 3's on the same possession. Clearly they need more minutes for Charlie Villanueva
  • 105-95 Suns, 5 minutes left. Gotta close this out
  • Bledsoe with a ballsy 20-footer off the dribble. Gets the kind roll
  • Suns are generally ok with Aminu taking 3's in crunch-time
  • Ellis is carving fools up. 31 points, 109-99 Suns
  • Goran ices it with a dirty stepback from 10 feet. 113-103 Suns, 1:22 left
  • What a freakin' win!

Let's get weird.

Isaiah Thomas will be out for the fifth-straight game, but this is the most rested that the Suns will be for the next four days. A win over the Mavs in Dallas would probably be the biggest achievement for the Suns' season thus far. Everyone knows that their guards can't defend a busted-up rocking horse, so let's hope for a big game from the Slash Brothers.

Let's get it on!

Mark Look at that… P.J. Tucker starts and the Suns win. What makes him so valuable to the starting lineup? I will begin by saying I am not sure how much more valuable Tucker is over Marcus...

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