DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion reached milestones as the Dallas Mavericks cruised by the Phoenix Suns 110-95 Sunday night at American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks improved to 19-25 before embarking on a four-game road trip with their sixth win in their last eight games. The Suns (15-30) have dropped two straight, both coming in Texas. Phoenix lost at San Antonio the previous night.
Nowitzki scored 18 points to move past Allen Iverson into 18th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Nowitzki, a former MVP who's in his 15th season, has 24,375 career points.
"I'm starting to feel better," Nowitzki said. "I have a little more pop on my jump shot, I have a little more lift. I'm looking forward to continuing to work, but this was a great effort.
"Honestly, this was as close to a must-win as we have in the regular season. We have a tough road trip coming up against some of those teams we are competing against for the eighth spot."
The Mavericks begin the trek Tuesday at Portland. They also face Golden State, Phoenix and Oklahoma City before returning to Dallas.
Marion took part in his 1,000 career NBA game against the franchise he broke into the league with. The 14-year veteran scored 18 points and grabbed nine boards.
"You want to get [to the NBA] and stay," Marion said. "I think I've stayed and I've done some amazing things."
Three Dallas reserves also scored in double figures -- Vince Carter (15), Elton Brand (12) and Dahntay Jones (11). Carter has scored at least 15 in his last four games.
"When we're helping each other and moving the ball, it shows our versatility," Marion said, referring to the team's 26 assists. "We have so many guys capable of having big nights out here. We have to give ourselves the opportunity to do that."
Dallas seized control early and, other than a couple of lapses, held the Suns in check. Phoenix missed 13 of 17 3-point attempts, and committed 18 turnovers leading to 23 points by the Mavericks.
"Tonight they beat us in every statistical category, and we can't possibly manage to win games that way," Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter said. "They capitalized on all of our mistakes. They played with a great sense of urgency."
Goran Dragic was one of the Suns' few bright spots with 18 points and eight assists. Luis Scola scored 14 points, but had only four rebounds. Marcin Gortat had only eight points and eight rebounds.
The Suns rallied in the third quarter, closing within six points (66-60) midway through the period behind a burst from Dragic. Dallas responded with a 6-0 run and held a double-digit lead for most of the rest of the quarter. The Mavs used a 19-5 run in the fourth quarter to take a 100-81 advantage.
Both teams started fast, as baskets were traded with little resistance, rekindling memories of the high-scoring battles these former rivals waged not that long ago. Dallas pulled away late in the first quarter behind a flurry from Brand to take a 29-21 lead.
The Mavs' surge continued into the second quarter as they opened up a 38-21 lead with a 9-0 burst. Dallas cruised into halftime up 57-42 behind 49-percent shooting. Marion had 12 points at the break, with Nowitzki chipping in nine. Dragic had nine points and six assists for the Suns, who shot just 38 percent.
The Suns return home to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.
"We'll get back to work," Hunter said, "and make sure we're better prepared next time, and make sure we're a better team on our next showing."
NOTES: Dallas coach Rick Carlisle announced that Mike James has been signed for the rest of the season. "He's done a really terrific, solid job since he's been here, so it's good news for us," Carlisle said. ... Marion became the 107th player in NBA history to play in 1,000 games. "I just take care of myself, take care of my body and always try to get better," Marion said. He played 660 games with Phoenix. ... Brand played in his 900th career game. ... Mavs rookie center Bernard James made his first career start. Dallas has used 17 starting lineups, tops in the league. ... The Suns have lost 10 in a row in Dallas. Their last road win against the Mavs came March 14, 2007. ... Carlisle has pegged Rodrigue Beaubois as the primary backup point guard behind Darren Collison. ... The Suns were averaging just 18.5 points in the fourth quarter in their last 15 losses entering play Sunday.