For the third time this season, the Phoenix Suns(16-31) suffers a loss at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks(20-27) as the Dirk-less Mavericks trumped the Suns last night 109-99.
The Suns were dominated by the Mavericks bench as they outscored the Suns bench 52-25. Former Sun Vince Carter and rookie Jae Crowder combined for 30 points off the bench for Dallas. Michael Beasley was held in check tonight as Beasley scored just four points and shot 2 of 13 from the field.
“Guys did a much better job,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Our execution was better, our defense was better, our rebounding was better so we were able to finally get a lead and build on it.”
This is nothing new, the Suns yet again, struggled in the second half which ultimately cost them the game. The Suns blew a double-digit lead in the third quarter and got outscored 35-24 in the fourth quarter.
“We are still young in this process and you kind of expect things like that to happen,” Hunter said of his team’s inability to get fourth-quarter stops. “I know what lies ahead of us and I know how hard it is, just trying to get everybody collectively as a group to understand that you have to do it together.”
The Mavericks took the lead from the Suns in early in the third quarter off of a jumper by Elton Brand which gave Dallas a 61-60 lead with 8:40 left in the quarter. The Suns would then respond with an 11-0 run capped off by a Marcin Gortat lay-up as the Suns led 71-61 with 4:45 left in the third.
Dallas would charge back furiously on a 13-4 run to close out the third quarter and the Suns were clinging on to a 75-74 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
After some back and fourth action, the Suns were ahead 81-80 with 9:37 to go, then Dallas went on a 12-4 run led by rookie Jae Crowder who nailed two three-pointers during that Dallas run which gave Dallas a 92-85 lead over the Suns with 6:28 left; the Mavericks led the Suns by no less than five points for the duration of the game.
The loss was a bitter one for Goran Dragic who had a tremendous game as he was sniffing a triple-double. Dragic recorded 19 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists in the Suns loss; Dragic was called for a kick-ball violation with 1:14 left in the game, and was given a technical foul after slamming the basketball against the floor out of pure frustration.
“Our intensity was not the same like last game,” Dragic said. “We were not engaged in defense.”
The Dallas bench deserves great credit for the Dallas win but it was the two former Suns players that killed Phoenix in the fourth quarter. Shawn Marion and Vince Carter combined for 15 fourth quarter points for Dallas.
The Suns faced a Mavericks team that was without Dirk Nowitzki, and Chris Kaman, yet the Mavericks were able to out rebound the Suns; the Mavericks also recorded 12 blocked shots as a team while the Suns blocked just seven.
The Suns are now traveling to Oakland to take on the Golden State Warriors tomorrow night at the Oracle Arena. The Suns are now embarking on a four-game road trip which begins tomorrow night in Golden State and will end next Friday against the Thunder in Oklahoma City; the Suns will face the Thunder back-to-back as the two teams will play each other next Friday then again on Sunday.