Mavericks 103, Suns 90

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DALLAS (AP)—The Dallas Mavericks continue to take advantage of their home court, putting a winless three-game road trip behind them on Monday night.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 of his 26 points in the first half, and the Mavericks extended their home winning streak to nine games with a 103-90 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Reserve Antawn Jamison added 21 points and eight rebounds for Dallas, coming off road losses against Houston, San Antonio and Minnesota. The Mavericks are a league-best 29-4 at home, 11-19 on the road.

“We know we can execute and win games at home,” Nowitzki said. “We’ve got to get that feeling on the road. We’ve got to show we can win big games on the road.”

Dallas has eight of its next 10 on the road, starting Thursday night at Western Conference-leading Sacramento.

“If we’re going to be the team we want to be, we’ve got to be a better road team,” said Mavericks point guard Steve Nash, who finished with 12 points. “But if we look at it as daunting, it’s only going to make it worse.”

The Suns got 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists from Shawn Marion, 19 points from Amare Stoudemire and 17 points from Joe Johnson.

Stoudemire had at least 20 points and had led the Suns in scoring in 11 consecutive games. He fell one game short of matching the club record for leading the team in scoring set by Charlie Scott in 1974-75.

“What’s disappointing is the way we played,” Stoudemire said. “We didn’t do anything well out there and that’s frustrating.”

In the only other meeting between Dallas and Phoenix this season, the Suns routed the Mavericks by 31 points Nov. 26 in Phoenix.

Nowitzki made his first eight shots before missing a 15-foot fallaway with 3:48 left in the third quarter. He finished 11-for-13 from the floor and added six rebounds.

Dallas is 16-2 this season when Nowitzki scores 25 or more points.

Mavericks starting forward Antoine Walker had six points and eight rebounds in a season-low 18 minutes. Walker’s minutes have fallen off lately, and he expressed his frustration over his increased bench time.

“I’m not going to make an issue of it,” said Walker, 2-for-9 from the field. “I’m going to continue to work hard. But I can’t give you anything in 18 minutes. That’s not my makeup. I’m not that type of ballplayer.”

After trailing by as many as 20 in the third quarter, the Suns opened the final quarter with 3-pointers by Johnson, Marion and Casey Jacobsen and a tip-in by Marion to get as close as 85-77 with 8:53 left.

But Nowitzki had three baskets during a 13-3 run, and Dallas pushed its lead to 98-80 with 3:33 remaining.

“We couldn’t get over the hump and we didn’t make enough good plays consecutively,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We dug ourselves too big of a hole and we paid the price for that.”

The Mavericks trailed by as many as 10 in the first quarter before a 13-2 run gave Dallas a 27-23 advantage heading into the second.

Dallas held a 56-41 halftime lead, with Nowitzki hitting all seven shots and Jamison adding 13 points.

“We had no energy early,” Nowitzki said. “But then we picked it up and started playing better defense.”

Nash, scoreless in the first half, had nine of Dallas’ first 11 points in the third quarter, and the Mavericks went on to lead by as many as 20.

The Mavericks were ahead 79-66 entering the final quarter.

Michael Finley finished with 13 points for the Mavericks, but went only 5-for-20 from the field. Eduardo Najera had eight points, nine rebounds andfive steals for Dallas.

Notes

Dallas’ longest home winning streak is 12 games at the start of the 2002-2003 season. … Marion tied his career high for assists. … Jamison outscored the Suns bench by himself, 21-19. The Mavericks’ bench built a 29-6 scoring edge over the Suns’ reserves in the first half. … The Mavericks held a 31-18 rebounding advantage in the opening 24 minutes, 14-6 on the offensiveboards. … The Suns had won three of their previous five games.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Phoenix
S. Marion S. Marion
10-18,  29 Pts
13 Rebs, 8 Assists
 Dallas
A. Jamison A. Jamison
8-12,  21 Pts
8 Rebs, 2 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists