Mavericks overcome adversity, injuries to maintain mastery over Suns

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- Despite a tough loss to Golden State and a long flight to Phoenix that didn't let them get to bed until 4 a.m., the Dirk Nowitzki-less Dallas Mavericks still found a way to keep their mastery over the Suns alive.
O.J. Mayo had 20 points, Darren Collison added 19 points and six assists and Vince Carter led a huge night for the Dallas bench with 17 points as the Mavericks rallied from 10 points down in the third quarter to beat the Suns for the second time in six days, 109-99 Friday.
The Mavericks have won all three meetings against Phoenix this season -- two of them without Nowitzki, who sat out with an adductor strain -- and have now defeated the Suns in 11 of the past 12 meetings.
Dallas also played without Chris Kaman (concussion) but still managed to control the boards and grabbed 51 rebounds.
Despite the back-to-back and playing for the fourth-time in six nights, the short-handed Mavericks put up 55 second-half points, including 35 in a no-turnover fourth quarter.
"I thought we were in denial about losing (to the Warriors) and we really reinforced our will and raised the level of competitiveness and toughness," Mayo said. "We had 12 turnovers in the first half and didn't play very good basketball and still got back to even. I think we all didn't want to have night thinking about a bad loss. I'll wake up in a better mood tomorrow."
Jae Crowder had 13 points and Brandan Wright also reached double figures with 11 as the Dallas bench poured in 52 points and wiped out a double-digit deficit.
Shannon Brown had 20 points off the bench for Phoenix and Goran Dragic toyed with a second career triple-double before settling for 19 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. The Suns gave up seven offensive rebounds and 35 points in the fourth quarter, unable to get any stops down the stretch.
"We came out scoring at will and when you score easily you tend to think that is the way you can win," said Phoenix interim coach Lindsey Hunter, now 3-3 since taking over for Alvin Gentry. "We kind of veered away from the things we're trying to do. That is a tough defensive team. It is a lesson well learned."
After scoring 27 points in a win over the Lakers Wednesday, Michael Beasley returned to his struggling ways, missing 11 of 13 shots and committing three turnovers -- managing four points in 28 minutes.
"He just seemed a step off," Hunter said. "I thought he had some good looks, he just hesitated a little. But I'm not worried about him. I will take what he did tonight and all the shots ... I am looking long-term with Mike. As long as I see progress with Mike, I'm happy."
The Suns took their last lead of the game at 81-80 on a Luis Scola layup with 9:37 left, but Carter put Dallas ahead to stay with a 3-pointer and the Mavericks took over down the stretch.
"We got some big stops and that really helped us close it out," said ex-Sun Shawn Marion, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds and knows how to beat Phoenix. He has only lost once to his former team in three stops since leaving Arizona in the Shaquille O'Neal trade in February of 2008.
"We've lost a lot games like this, close games that could have changed our record around," Marion said. "Tonight we were on the same page and made the right plays to win."
Phoenix led by as many as six in the first period and took their biggest lead of the game at 71-61 on a Marcin Gortat layup with 4:45 left. But the Mavericks bench closed the quarter on a 13-4 run and took a lead at 74-73 on a Wright basket with 52.2 seconds left.
"The bench played really well, lots of energy," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "They got us the lead and it was up to our finishers to finish. Everyone did their job tonight."
NOTES -- Kaman missed his third consecutive game with a concussion. ... Nowitzki suffered the injury late on Tuesday in Portland, but was unable to get loose before Thursday's Golden State game and has missed 28 games this season. ... Beasley has averaged 18.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in the first five games since Lindsey Hunter replaced Alvin Gentry as Suns coach. ... Beasley has struggled much of the season, but his seven efforts of 20 points or more are only one behind team leaders Scola and Dragic. ... Hunter was looking to begin his coaching career with three straight home wins to join Jerry Colangelo (1970), John Wetzel (1987), Paul Westphal (1992) and Scott Skiles (1999) as Suns coaches who have managed that feat. ... Jermaine O'Neal missed his sixth straight game since being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.

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