Dallas is currently third in the Western Conference standings, just one game behind the Los Angeles Lakers and one game ahead of Oklahoma City with three games remaining. The Mavericks ended a four-game losing streak with Friday's 107-96 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Big D.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and Corey Brewer chipped in 20 points as well for the Mavs, who erased a 16-point deficit and improved to 27-12 at home. J.J. Barea and Tyson Chandler scored 15 points apiece in a winning effort.
"It's really big for us. We've been going through a losing stretch - and it's tough when you're losing - but it was good to get a win tonight with the fans behind us," Brewer said.
Shawn Marion ended with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Jason Terry did not play in the second half due to coaching reasons. Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said it was an internal matter. Terry allegedly got into a verbal exchange with Barea during a timeout.
Carlisle's club will visit Houston before hosting New Orleans next week in the regular season finale.
Phoenix is playing out the string and will miss the playoffs for the second time in three years. It is 1-3 so far on a five-game road trip and fell to 17-23 away from the desert with Friday's 109-97 loss at the Hornets.
Jared Dudley had a team-high 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Suns, who got 17 points from Marcin Gortat and 15 out of Grant Hill. Vince Carter posted 14 points off the bench, as Phoenix fell for the seventh time in nine tries overall.
"Our problems start because we can't close out quarters," Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said. "We have to come up with more plays that we complete and finish; that's on the offensive and defensive end."
Suns All-Star guard Steve Nash missed the New Orleans game with a sore right hamstring and is doubtful for Sunday. Nash has missed three of five games and is averaging 15.1 points and 11.4 assists this season.
Phoenix will close out the 2010-11 campaign with back-to-back home games versus Minnesota and San Antonio.
Dallas has won the first three meetings with Phoenix this season and hasn't swept a series from the Suns since winning all five meetings during the 1987-88 campaign. The Mavs have won 10 of the last 13 contests against the Suns and have scored at least 100 points in 25 of the past 27 encounters.
Phoenix has lost six straight and 15 of its last 19 at Dallas.