PHOENIX -- It was "Guaranteed Fun Night" night at US Airways Center, and the Phoenix Suns certainly succeeded in making things exciting down to the final seconds Thursday.
Lately, though the only guarantee is a Suns loss.
The Dallas Mavericks blew a 15-point, third-quarter lead but held on to hand the Suns their fifth straight loss, 97-94.
Dallas guard O.J. Mayo was a bright spot in a sloppy, disjointed game, finishing with 23 points. He gave the Mavericks the lead for good on a 19-foot jumper with 34.6 seconds left.
Markeiff Morris had 15 points and a career-high 17 rebounds for Phoenix, and his 3-pointer with 1:05 left pulled the Suns within 87-85. Suns guard Shannon Brown tied the game at 87 on two free throws with 48.7 remaining before Mayo drilled his shot over Sebastian Telfair to put Dallas back in front.
Goran Dragic missed a layup and a chance to re-tie the game on Phoenix's next possession, and Dallas hit eight free throws down the stretch -- four each by Darren Collison and Vince Carter -- to sew up the game.
Brown got Phoenix within 95-94 on a 3-pointer with 3.7 seconds left, but he missed a desperation 3-pointer to tie it at the buzzer.
The Dallas reserves were strong all night. Collison scored 10 of his 16 points from the foul line. Brandan Wright added 16 and Chris Kaman 15 off the bench for the Mavericks, who won for only the second time of their last six games.
Dallas starter Shawn Marion had 10 points before leaving with a groin injury in the third quarter.
Phoenix lost reserve forward P.J. Tucker to a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee a few minutes later.
The Suns attracted a season-high crowd of 17,517 -- more than 2,000 over their season average -- to a late Thursday night game by promising fans who didn't have a good time a full refund. The Suns did give a good effort late, cutting a 15-point third-quarter deficit to 83-80 on Brown's basket with 2:21 left to set up the exciting finish.
Dallas, which has won nine of its past 10 meetings with Phoenix, trailed 44-40 at intermission but outscored the Suns 23-4 over the first nine minutes of the third quarter. Mayo and Kaman had six points each, and Wright followed a dunk with a goaltended basket 22 seconds later to give the Mavericks a 63-48 lead with 3:50 left.
The Suns cut the lead in half by the end of the quarter and used a Jared Dudley 3-pointer and a Telfair layup to pull to within 71-67 with 10:54 left.
In an ugly first half, the teams combined for 49 missed shots and 17 turnovers.
Looking to avoid their first five-game losing streak since January, the Suns jumped out to a quick 11-1 lead with Michael Beasley contributing two baskets and two assists. But Phoenix missed eight straight shots from there, and Dallas answered with a 9-2 run, pulling even at 23 on Wright's 8-footer with 6.9 seconds left in the quarter.
Mayo, who flirted with signing in Phoenix as a free agent in the offseason, collected six straight points in the second quarter, but six points and five rebounds from Luis Scola gave Phoenix the lead at intermission.
NOTES: Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle continued to tinker with his starting lineup, going with Dahntay Jones for the second time this season and Elton Brand over Chris Kaman. O.J. Mayo is the only Maverick to start all 19 games and the only one to start more than 14. ... The Suns came into the game ranked last in the NBA in defense, allowing 102.9 points per game and 108 a game during their losing streak. ... Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki was with the team but does not expect to make his return from knee surgery before Christmas. ... The Suns were away from US Airways Center for 13 days prior to Thursday, their longest stretch between home games this season. ... Telfair returned to the team after missing Tuesday's loss in Memphis because of the death of his father.