Team Have It All Combines For 60 As Mavericks Clinch Playoff Berth



Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis combined to score 60 points, 44 in the second half, and Brandan Wright keyed in on a crucial block down the stretch as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Phoenix Suns 101-98 on April 12 to secure a playoff spot after snapping their 12-year streak last season.

Ellis dropped a season-high-tying 37 points on 15-of-23 shooting and hit 3-of-4 from behind the arc. He scored 23 in the second half, 12 in the final quarter.

A three from Devin Harris put the Mavs up 97-89 with 3:30 remaining, but the Suns would score nine of the next 11 points to cut it to 99-98 with 52 seconds on the clock.

After Ellis went 1-of-2 from the line, Wright came up with the biggest defensive play of the year for the Mavs, blocking an Eric Bledsoe layup attempt with 12 seconds left.

Dallas still gave Phoenix a chance after Ellis went 1-of-2 from the line again, but Markieff Morris couldn’t knock down the game-tying 3-pointer with seconds to spare.

With the win, the Mavericks clinched one of the two final playoff spots out West after a one-year absence.

Nowitzki scored just two points at halftime, but came out to score 14 in the third and 21 overall in the second half. He hit back-to-back threes to cut the Mavs’ deficit to two with 2:58 left in the third. He sprained his ankle in the final quarter, but did return.

The game had a playoff atmosphere like everyone anticipated as the Mavs started off slow, but came away with a one-point lead after the opening 12 minutes.

Phoenix would end the second on fire. The Suns ended the final four minutes of the half with a 17-4 run after the game was knotted at 40 before Ellis’ floater beat the buzzer to give Phoenix an 11-point halftime lead.

The Suns would continue to hold a double-digit lead in the third before Nowitzki and Ellis combined to score 15 of the final 17-team points, all from distance, to cut their deficit to 78-75 entering the final frame.

Nowitzki and Ellis helped score 25 of the team’s 29 third-quarter points. They scored the team’s first 10 points of the quarter.

Bledsoe scored a team-high 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting while Channing Frye added 21 points, hitting his first five shots from downtown.

Player Of The Game

ONE GAME LEFT: The Mavericks (49-32) have one game left in their quest to the 7th seed, opting out on a first-round match up against the San Antonio Spurs, who have swept the Mavs in the last two seasons. Dallas has three days of rest before finishing the regular season on April 16 in Memphis, who is still fighting for the final playoff spot. Dallas is a game ahead of the Grizzlies for 7th and a game back of Golden State for 6th. Both the Warriors and Grizzlies have three games remaining. Memphis will play the Lakers on April 13 and still has to play the Suns before finishing up with the Mavs. Phoenix now sits a half game out of the postseason, with another huge game against Memphis before finishing out with the Sacramento Kings on April 16. Dallas owns the tiebreaker with the Grizzlies while the Warriors own the tiebreaker with the Mavs. Memphis owns the tiebreaker with the Suns.

MILESTONE WATCH: Vince Carter needed seven points tonight to pass former Maverick Adrian Dantley for 25th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He scored 10 and now sits with 23,181 career points. Carter knocked down a 25-foot 3-pointer at the 9:23 mark in the second to achieve the milestone. Carter has averaged more than 900 points in his last four seasons, and if it that holds up next season, Carter has a chance to pass Robert Parish and Charles Barkley for 23rd all time with Allen Iverson right around the corner.

TEAM HAVE IT ALL: Nowitzki and Ellis scored 60 of the Mavs’ 101 points, which comes out to 59.4 percent of the points. It’s a season-high for points responsible for, but not a season-high for points combined. The duo scored 72 in the Mavs’ 123-120 come-from-behind win over the Rockets on Nov. 20. Nowitzki scored 35 while Ellis scored 37 against Houston, responsible for 58.5 percent of the team’s points. They also scored 60 in the Mavs’ 122-120 overtime loss to the Warriors on April 1 (50 percent). After scoring just 16 points in the first half, two from Dirk, the duo went off with the aforementioned 25 in the third and 44 in the second half overall. Ellis>>>Mayo. Enough said.

THE WRIGHT STUFF: Wright had one of his better games of the season, finishing with a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards in a season-high 32 minutes. His previous high was 29 against Phoenix on Dec. 21, his fourth game of the year. “The Wright Stuff,” and we do mean STUFF. He added three blocks, some of which the biggest of the ball game. Aside from his big block on Bledsoe, that would’ve tied it, Wright blocked Goran Dragic‘s attempt at the third-quarter buzzer. He also blocked Morris’ attempt at the end of a shot-clock violation before his brother, Marcus, hit a two early in the fourth.