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Suns 102, Mavericks 91

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- The 102-91 victory Wednesday night by the Phoenix Suns not only snapped their 10-game losing streak, but it snuffed out any lingering playoff hopes the Dallas Mavericks might have clung to.

The Mavericks came into the contest after a two-day break against the worst team in the Western Conference with a mathematical chance -- albeit a slight one -- of chasing down the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz for the eighth spot. Instead of dominating the Suns, who were on the second night of a back-to-back, Dallas laid an egg.

Barring a monumental collapse by both the Lakers and Jazz, the Mavericks (38-40) will have their streak of playoff appearances end at 12 consecutive years. While plenty of losses have hurt this season, few were as painful as Wednesday's.

Dallas spent much of the game battling back from double-digit deficits against a squad in the midst of one of the poorest seasons in franchise history. Other than a few short stretches, the Suns were in complete control against a team that had won the previous three meetings this season.

Goran Dragic scored 22 points and dished out 17 assists to pace the Suns, who improved to 24-55. Luis Scola set a season high with 15 rebounds and Jermaine O'Neal blocked seven shots. P.J. Tucker scored 17 points, including a burst of five straight after Dallas pulled within four points in the last two minutes.

Shawn Marion scored 22 points for Dallas. Dirk Nowitzki added 21, but shot just 6 of 18. The Mavericks shot just 40 percent and had just one other player (Vince Carter) in double figures.

The Mavericks opened the second half with a 12-2 run to knot the game at 63-all. Dragic answered with a 3-pointer and the Suns reeled off a 12-0 spurt and carried a 10-point lead (81-71) into the fourth.

The Phoenix backcourt of Dragic and Wesley Johnson had their way with the Mavericks throughout the first half. The duo combined for 33 points on 13-of-17 shooting as the Suns took a 61-51 lead into the break.

The Mavericks came out sleepwalking, falling behind 28-14 before getting back in the game. Nowitzki and Carter spurred a 22-7 run to give Dallas a momentary lead.

Phoenix coach Lindsey Hunter went back to his starters and the Mavericks were quickly back in a hole. The Suns shot 52 percent from the floor in the half, including 9 of 16 (56 percent) from beyond the arc.

NOTES: Dallas forward Nowitzki was back in the lineup after missing the fourth quarter of Sunday's win at Portland with a left foot injury. Nowitzki came into the game 53 points shy of being the 17th player in NBA history to reach 25,000 career points. ... The Suns hadn't won in Dallas since March 14, 2007 going into Wednesday, a span of 11 straight losses. ... Phoenix forward Michael Beasley missed a second game since the birth of his daughter. ... Dallas forward Elton Brand (calf) was out for the fourth straight game, despite hope that he would return against Phoenix. ... The Mavericks haven't been at the .500 mark since being 11-11 in mid-December.
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