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Mavericks Host Suns In Prep For Monday's Showdown With Heat

(Sports Network) - The Dallas Mavericks will close out a six-game homestand tonight versus Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Center.

Dallas had a season-best 12-game winning streak stopped with a loss versus Milwaukee earlier this week, but rebounded with Wednesday's 103-98 decision over the Portland Trail BlazersDirk Nowitzki scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and Caron Butler scored 23 points for the Mavs, who pushed their home mark to 12-4 this season and improved to 4-1 on the residency.

The Mavericks blew a 17-point advantage, but were able to hold on for their 13th victory in 14 tries.

"Right now that has kind of been the trend," said Mavericks guard Jason Kidd, who had 11 points, seven boards and six assists. "We get up by 20 and then all of the sudden we find ourselves up only two or three points, so we need to figure that out and understand as a team that once we have a team down, we've got to keep them done."

Dallas is 20-5 through 25 games and went 22-3 after 25 games in 2002-03, marking the only time in team history it had a better record after 25 games. The Mavs notched 12 turnovers versus the Blazers and improved to 7-1 this season when committing 12 or fewer turnovers in a game.

Meanwhile, the Suns will begin a three-game road trip tonight against Dallas, Oklahoma City and San Antonio, and are 5-7 away from the desert.

Phoenix ended a three-game slide and salvaged the finale of a three-game homestand with Wednesday's 128-122 triumph over Minnesota, as Jason Richardson scored a game-high 29 points and both Grant Hill and Channing Frye added 21 points for the Suns, who have won four of seven games overall.

"It's a win. Right now that's the best thing that could happen to us. We just needed a win," Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry said.

Nash had 11 points and 19 assists in a winning effort. Nash is averaging 16.9 points and 12.4 assists in his last 11 games. Hill has scored in double figures in 14 of last 15 contests for Phoenix, which has won 11 of the last 20 games following a 1-3 start to the season.

Richardson has posted 20 or more points in eight of his last 11 games.

Dallas took two of three matchups from the Suns a season ago and has won seven of the last 10 encounters with Phoenix. The Mavs have scored at least 100 points in 23 of the previous 24 games in this series. Phoenix is winless in its last five visits to Big D.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.