Mavericks Square Off With Suns As Both Push For A Playoff Spot
By Brian Gosset
Jan 17, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Jose Calderon (8) dribbles the ball up the court against the Phoenix Suns in the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
DALLAS MAVERICKS (48-32) vs PHOENIX SUNS- April 12 at American Airlines Center (8:30 p.m. ET)
As the season comes to an end, the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns fight for one of the remaining playoff spots in the West on April 12 at American Airlines Center. Game starts at 8:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on NBA TV and Fox Sports Southwest with Mark Followill, Derek Harper and Jeff “Skin” Wade. Game also can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona with Steve Albert and Eddie Johnson (for anyone who will be watching with me).
Both are coming off games versus the San Antonio Spurs.
The Mavericks held a 51-49 halftime lead, but were outscored 34-21 in the third quarter as the Spurs won their ninth-straight between the in-state rivals on April 10.
Monta Ellis scored a team-high 24 points while Dirk Nowitzki added 19.
Patty Mills started in place of the injured Tony Parker and scored a game-high 26 points, going 6-of-11 from behind the arc.
Dallas was doomed by the Spurs +33 points from three and +16 in fast-break points. The Mavericks only attempted 12 threes, hitting five treys.
It was more of the same for the Suns against the Spurs on April 11.
Phoenix led by 21 before the Spurs stormed back for a 112-104 home win.
The Spurs were without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili while Parker returned.
The Suns led 35-14 in the first before San Antonio finished the quarter on a 10-2 run.
Phoenix, who was without Goran Dragic, led by 13 at the break before the Spurs outscored the Suns 37-19. Eric Bledsoe missed out on a near triple-double with 30 points, 11 boards and nine assists. Gerald Green, who started for Dragic, added 27 points.
Dallas and Phoenix face off for the season tiebreaker as both teams have won once in Arizona.
Game 1 (Dec. 21)- Phoenix matched its season-best with 15 3-pointers — in 30 tries — to beat Dallas 123-108 in the surprising Suns’ highest-scoring game of the season. Five Phoenix players made at least two from beyond the arc. Nowitzki scored a team-high 21 points while Brandan Wright added 19 in his season debut.
Game 2 (Jan. 17)- Rookie Shane Larkin scored a career-high 18 points, half of them in the final quarter, and the Mavericks held on to beat the Suns 110-107. Ellis led with 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting while Nowitzki added 21. *IN THE CASE OF THE SPURS/MAVS 1ST MEETING (MY LAST HOME GAME IN ATTENDANCE), THIS WAS MY LAST MAVS GAME IN ATTENDANCE*
MILESTONE WATCH: With seven points, Vince Carter will pass former Mavericks Adrian Dantley for 25th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT MEMPHIS: Dallas remains in 7th in the Western Conference, just a half game ahead of the Suns and Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are in 8th because they hold the tiebreaker with Phoenix. The Mavericks have two games left, Suns and the Grizzlies on April 16. The Suns play three more, the Mavs, Grizzlies and Kings. The Grizzlies also have three left, the Lakers, Suns and Mavs.
SEAN HEATH: Mavericks PA announcer Sean Heath will be shouting into his courtside microphone during the regular-season home finale. The NBA rescinded its two-game suspension for Heath, opting to fine the Mavericks $25,000 as punishment for Heath’s tweets criticizing the officiating in Dallas’ 122-120 overtime loss to the Warriors on April 1. Three of the tweets from Heath’s account were directed to the NBA’s account, the most inflammatory of which said that games such as the Mavs’ loss to the Warriors are why the league has a “reputation that the games are rigged.”
DALLAS STARS: The Dallas Stars, who share the AAC with the Mavs, clinched the final playoff spot on April 11 with a 3-0 home victory against St. Louis (The Texas Rangers also won in Arlington, 1-0 in 12 innings vs Houston). Let’s hope the crowd is just as pumped on Saturday night with arguably the biggest game for Dallas since Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals.