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Nowitzki Leads Mavericks Past Suns

(Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki paced the Mavericks with 35 points as Dallas topped Phoenix, 112-106, at US Airways Center in the final game before the All-Star break.

Jason Terry and Shawn Marion added 16 and 12 points, respectively, off the bench, while Tyson Chandler posted 12 points and rebounds for Dallas, which reached the 40 win mark at the break and is only the fourth team to achieve that feat entering All-Star weekend (San Antonio, Miami and Boston).

“We had to grind it out and they made a heckuva run there in the second half and kept making plays,” Nowitzki said.

Peja Stojakovic added 10 points and Jason Kidd dished out 12 assists for the Mavericks, who have won 13 of their last 14.

Channing Frye led the Suns with 24 points and eight rebounds. Vince Carter added 16 and Steve Nash secured his sixth straight double-double and 33rd of the season with 15 points and 14 assists.

“At the end of the day, they made the plays down the stretch and we didn’t quite make them,” said Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry. “We had shots that could have closed the gap and they didn’t quite get in the basket.”

The Suns have dropped two of three to enter the break.

Leading 85-80 entering the fourth, Dallas opened the scoring with a Marion dunk. Marcin Gortat added a dunk of his own at the far end to start a 10-5 Phoenix run to make the game close.

Robin Lopez ended the spurt with 1-of-2 from the line and the team’s traded baskets into the final minute of play. Frye then cut the Mavericks’ lead to three, 109-106, with a three-pointer with 17.3 seconds remaining.

Terry and Kidd added crucial free throws in the final seconds to seal the victory.

Nowitzki paced the Mavericks with eight points, and Dallas held a 28-25 at the end of one. Terry opened up the second quarter scoring with a long three- pointer, and after his trifecta with 5:09 remaining the Mavericks lead was 10, 46-36.

Phoenix cut its deficit to 54-51 at the half.

Phoenix tied the game at 59-59 with a Lopez dunk early in the third, and after keeping the game close throughout the entire quarter, Dallas ended the stanza with a 9-0 run, taking an 85-80 lead into the final stanza. Dallas shot 50 percent from the field in the third.

Game Notes

The Suns dropped a 106-91 decision in Dallas on Dec. 17 this season and have lost eight of the previous 10 meetings between the teams…Rodrigue Beaubois added nine points for Dallas…Lopez finished with 13 points and 13 boards, while Mickael Pietrus and Grant Hill added 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the loss…The Suns shot 77.3 percent from the free throw line and 50.6 percent from the field.

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