Mavericks 113, Suns 90

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PHOENIX (AP)—After four consecutive road defeats, Michael Finley made certain that slump came to an end.

Finley matched his season-high with 38 points and the Dallas Mavericks handed the reeling Phoenix Suns their fourth consecutive loss, 113-90 Saturday night.

The victory moved the Mavericks a half-game ahead of Memphis, which lost 88-80 to Houston.

Antoine Walker had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Antawn Jamison had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Dirk Nowitzki added 12 rebounds. The Mavericks outrebounded Phoenix 64-43.

“We haven’t had a lot of success on the road,” Finley said. “We wanted to come out with tremendous energy, and we did. The games we lost we had come out slow.

“We needed this. We haven’t had a road win in a long time.”

With the victory, Dallas improved to 12-20 on the road. They have the NBA’s best home record at 29-4.

Amare Stoudemire led Phoenix in scoring for the 13th time in 14 games with 25 points. It also was the 13th time in 14 games he had surpassed 20. The only time he missed was Monday night when he scored 19 at Dallas.

Joe Johnson scored 20 points for the Suns, Shawn Marion had 19, including four 3-pointers, and Zarko Cabarkapa had 12.

“Road games have not been easy for us this year, so any road kill is a good win for us,” Dallas coach Don Nelson said. “We have to start winning games on the road, and hopefully, this is a start.”

The game was in sharp contrast to the teams’ last meeting at Phoenix in November, when the Suns blitzed Dallas 121-90. This time, the Mavericks were in complete control.

Finley was unstoppable in the first quarter, shooting 7-of-8 and hitting from all angles as the Mavericks bolted to a 38-21 lead.

Dallas continued to pour it on in the second period, taking a 70-42 halftime lead with Finley adding eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

The fast-breaking Mavericks came into the game averaging 103.6 points per game, second in the league to Sacramento’s 104.4.

Walker also was a big contributor for Dallas in the half, scoring 14 points and grabbing five rebounds.

“We’re searching for some road confidence,” Walker said. “We’ve been killing ourselves in the first quarter. This was the first time we maintained the lead all the way.”

The 70 points were a season high for Dallas and the most allowed by Phoenix.

To add to the Suns’ woes, the crowd of 16,705 booed them as the half ended.

“It was a bad first half, just awful,” Phoenix coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Michael Finley had an incredible game, which he is quite capable of, but that does not excuse us by any means from the first half.

“We need to find some defense somewhere. Our defensive effort was absolutely zero.”

The vocal fans also booed Dallas’ Danny Fortson when he entered the game in the third quarter. The last time the teams met at American West Arena, Fortson was ejected for a flagrant foul on Cabarkapa that resulted in him sustaining a broken right wrist and missing 22 games.

With Marion scoring 12 points in the third period, the Suns reduced the 28-point halftime deficit to 18 (94-76) after three periods. But the Suns gotno closer in the fourth quarter.

Notes

Scott Williams played his first game at America West Arena since being released by the Suns on Jan. 28. He failed to score in four minutes. … The Suns used their 22nd starting combination this season, with Stoudemire starting his first game at center. … Before Saturday, the home team had won eight straight in the Mavericks-Suns series. … Both teams were playing in back-to-back situations Saturday. The Suns lost at home to Utah Friday night,and the Mavericks play at the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday night.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Dallas
A. Walker A. Walker
8-17,  18 Pts
10 Rebs, 5 Assists
 Phoenix
J. Johnson J. Johnson
9-17,  20 Pts
7 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists