#4- Mavericks 101, Suns 98 FINAL (April 12)
It was game 81, the second-to-last game of the regular season, and who would’ve thought back in July and August that the Phoenix Suns would even be in this position.
First-year head coach and a starting lineup that consisted of Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, P.J. Tucker, Channing Frye and Miles Plumlee, but it didn’t matter. They shut their critics up by winning 30 games more than projected.
The Suns had a tough stretch to end the season, but they were still in the running for a playoff berth.
Phoenix visited the Dallas Mavericks on April 12 in a marquee match up. Dallas would clinch a playoff spot with a win. A loss would not only keep Phoenix’s hopes alive, but it meant Dallas still had an outside chance of missing the playoffs for a second-straight year.
After one half, it seemed the Suns were the team more destined for a playoff spot. Dirk Nowitzki mustered up just two points at halftime as the Mavs found themselves down 57-46.
The Suns went up 13 a couple times in the third and led by that much midway through the third.
But Monta Ellis came to Dallas for games like this, pairing up with Nowitzki to be a dynamic one-two punch.
Dallas would stage a comeback, one for the ages.
After a bad first half, Nowitzki scored 14 in the third. Ellis added 11 in the quarter, as the two combined to score 25 of the team’s 29 points.
Nowitzki would score 21 of his 23 after halftime and Ellis scored a season-high-tying 37 points for Dallas.
The Mavericks went 5-of-6 from downtown in a four-minute stretch during the third to erase an eight-point deficit to one.
The Mavs finished the second half of the third quarter on a 19-9 run and trailed by three entering the fourth.
Dallas would continue to trail before Dirk’s jumper with 6:41 left gave the Mavs an 88-87 lead.
Ellis would score 12 points in the decisive quarter, and he and Dirk combined for 19 points. The Mavs largest lead in the fourth was eight when they lead 99-91 with 2:25 left.
The Mavericks gave the Suns multiple chances to tie or take the lead when Ellis went 2-of-4 from the line in the closing seconds.
The first trip to the line gave the Mavs a two-point lead.
Bledsoe attempted to tie it up with 12 seconds left, but his drive to the lane and layup attempt was blocked by Brandan Wright, which sent Dallas back to the line.
The second trip to the line for Ellis gave Dallas a three-point lead and one final chance for Phoenix, but Markieff Morris‘ 3-pointer was off, helping Dallas clinch a playoff spot after a one-year hiatus.
Wright grabbed a double-double off the bench with 12 points and 11 boards while blocking three shots. Ellis and Nowitzki combined to shoot 23-of-38 from the field, 6-of-10 from three.
STAY TUNED FOR THE #3 BEST GAME OF THE DALLAS MAVERICKS’ SEASON…….