Related News

Home » Sports » Basketball

Mavs shade Suns, set sights on rising up in playoffs race

NOW that Dallas has pulled away from the Phoenix Suns in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Mavericks are setting their sights higher.

Dallas, behind a 34-point performance from Dirk Nowitzki, beat Phoenix 122-117 on Tuesday night to widen its lead over the Suns to five games for the eighth and final spot in the West.

"Make no mistake, though," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "We're trying to move up. We're not just trying to hang in this thing. We're trying to move up the seeding."

By opening a four-game road trip with a victory, Dallas is just a half-game behind Denver, a game behind New Orleans and 1 1/2 games behind Portland for the seventh through fifth spots in the conference.

In other National Basketball Association games, it was: Jazz 112, Pacers 100; Knicks 120, Bucks 112; Spurs 100, Bobcats 86; Thunder 99, Kings 98; and Cavaliers 87, Clippers 83.

In Phoenix, Arizona, Nowitzki scored 23 points in the second half to send Phoenix to its fifth straight loss. The Suns' Steve Nash said his team came out flat in the second half, something he couldn't explain considering the importance of the contest.

"Dirk played great. He was unstoppable," Nash said, "but you know I felt like our output in the second half wasn't nearly up to where it could have been. Our concentration, I felt, could have improved a lot. I'm very disappointed with the way we played and competed in the second half."

Jason Terry added 25 points and Jose Barea 16 for Dallas, which snapped a five-game road losing streak. Guard Jason Kidd added 12 points and eight rebounds. The Mavericks play at Portland tomorrow.

"The first one is very big for our confidence and now tomorrow night we're going to face another huge challenge," Terry said. "This was good because now we can keep Phoenix in our rearview and keep pushing forward."

Nowitzki said it was important for Dallas (39-25) to win on the road, something the Mavs hadn't done since February 2 at Orlando.

"We know we can beat anybody at home," he said, "but I think the good teams and the great teams find a way to win big games on the road. That was definitely a big game for us tonight."

Shaquille O'Neal scored 21 on 9-of-10 shooting for Phoenix (34-30) to pass Elvin Hayes for sixth on the NBA's career scoring list. Nash had 23 points and 13 assists for the Suns. Matt Barnes added 21 points.

"It was a tough loss and we're really disappointed," Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said, "but we still have 18 games to play. This was not the difference of us being in the playoffs and not being in the playoffs."

Dallas took final control with a 10-2 run late in the fourth quarter. Nowitzki made a pair of outside jumpers to start the spurt, then Kidd sank two three-pointers and it was 112-99 with 3:08 to play.

O'Neal got his 13th point of the night with 1:34 left in the first half to pass Hayes. With 27,322 points, O'Neal needs 88 to take over fifth place from Moses Malone.

"Pretty good," O'Neal said, "but I'd like to have a win tonight. All that stuff, it's cool, but it's not really important. It's all about winning."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend