Green plays key role in Suns win over Mavs

Jerry Brown, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- Five years ago, guard Gerald Green was warming the Dallas Mavericks bench. Three years ago, he was out of the NBA completely.
Now Green is playing a key role on one of the NBA's surprise teams as the Phoenix Suns continue to roll.
Guard Eric Bledsoe scored a game-high 25 points and Green added 22 points and four of Phoenix's 15 3-pointers as the Suns rang up their seventh win in their last eight games with a 123-108 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.
Green hit six 3-pointers Friday when the Suns railed from 21 points down to shock the Nuggets in Denver. He picked up right where he left off Saturday, hitting three of Phoenix's seven 3's in the first quarter.
"I'm so blessed to be in this situation. Three years ago, I was playing in Russia, out of the league and just hoping for another chance," said Green, who is averaging 13.6 points a game off the Phoenix bench. "I remember today when I was with Dallas, not even playing. I was on a good team but I wasn't getting any time. Now I'm able to contribute and it makes me thankful and work harder to make sure this opportunity doesn't slip away."
Forwards Channing Frye had 18 points for Phoenix, which set a season high for points and margin of victory and followed Friday night's rally from a 21-point deficit in Denver with another win.
The Suns won 11 of their last 15 games and improved to six games above .500 (16-10) for the first time since they went 54-28 and reached the Western Conference finals in 2009-10. Phoenix didn't win its 16th game last season -- when the Suns went 25-57 -- until a Jan. 30 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 46th game.
"Offensively we were pretty good," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said after the Suns hit 123 points for the first time in 112 games (Apr. 16, 2012). "We moved the ball, got it inside and made some kick out passes for threes."
Forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points and guard Monta Ellis and forward Brandon Wright had 19 each for the Mavericks, who blew a 19-point lead at home to the Toronto Raptors on Friday night and have now lost on back-to-back nights.
"We couldn't get any stops," said Nowitzki, who now has 25,600 career points -- 13 behind Alex English and a tie for 13th place on the all-time NBA scoring list. "We tried some zone, we tried some switching, but we never got enough stops to really make it a game. They're a good team, they've been show it all year. They have two good playmakers (Bledsoe and Goran Dragic) that get in the lane and they are surrounded by shooting and athleticism."
Green and Frye each had four 3-pointers and Bledsoe had three as the Suns went 15-for-30 beyond the arc, including 7-for-10 in the first quarter. Phoenix has now made at least seven made 3-pointers in a franchise-record 18 games.
"It was one of those nights where they couldn't miss," Ellis said. "I think they made every open 3-pointer, and if not they only missed one or two. They established the lead and did all the things right to maintain that lead."
Phoenix got started early. Frye's second 3-pointer within a minute capped an 8-0 run to give Phoenix a 15-6 lead. Then Green, who had six 3-pointers in Friday night's comeback win in Denver, hit his first three bombs off the bench before Bledsoe gave the Suns a 15-point lead at 36-21 on a 3-pointer with 1:09 left.
Dallas cut the lead to 38-25 at the end of the quarter and whittled down the Phoenix lead with a 13-5 run to open the second, with two Nowitzki free throws inching Dallas within 43-38 with 6:58 left.
With Phoenix missing five of six 3-point shots in the quarter, Dallas got as close as 56-54 on a fast-break dunk by Ellis with 1:30 to go. But the Suns scored five points in the final 10.9 seconds to take a 63-58 lead at the half.
The Suns expanded their lead to as many as 12 points in the third quarter, when forward PJ Tucker had seven points and five rebounds.
Dallas got as close as six points in the fourth quarter. An Ellis free throw made it 100-94 with 8:31 left, but Frye answered with a 3-pointer and hit another with 5:40 left to make it 110-99 Suns. Frye had 10 points in the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Suns F Markieff Morris came into the season with a career high of 23 points. When he scored 25 on Friday night in a comeback win at Denver, it was the sixth time he had topped the 23 points in the first 24 games of the season. ... Dallas coach Rick Carlisle on his team blowing the big lead to Toronto on Friday: "We had a big lead and they kept playing. This is one of those years when no lead is safe, no margin is too big. You have to play for all 48 minutes."... Carlisle on the Suns: "They are every bit as good as their record. You don't go into Denver and wipe out a 21-point lead if you're not any good."... The Mavericks have seven players with eight or more years of NBA experience. The Suns have none.

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