DALLAS -- Apparently, the Phoenix Suns wanted it more than the Dallas Mavericks.
With nothing but pride to play for on Wednesday night, the lowly Suns strolled into American Airlines Center and snapped their 10-game losing streak by claiming a 102-91 victory over the stunned Mavs. That crucial loss dropped the Mavs to 38-40 as they missed out on their third opportunity since Mar. 28 to reach the .500 plateau.
More importantly, at press time the Los Angeles Lakers (41-37) were playing on the West Coast at Portland. If the Lakers defeat the Trail Blazers, that would officially eliminate the Mavs from the playoff race.
The Suns came in with the worst record in the Western Conference, the third-worst record in the NBA, and had lost in Houston on Tuesday, 101-98, on a goaltending call at the buzzer. But the Suns put all that baggage behind them en route to shocking a Mavs squad that still had some postseason aspirations.
Phoenix led by 14 late in the third period, but the Mavs got within 93-89 with 2:02 remaining in the game following a jumper by Dirk Nowitzki. However, shortly thereafter, Luis Scola barely got off a scoop shot as the shot-clock expired and PJ Tucker cleaned it up by scoring via an offensive rebound.
OJ Mayo then missed a three-point field goal, and Tucker scored again -- this time with his own three-pointer -- and the Suns went up 98-89 with 1:01 left in the game.
Shawn Marion led the Mavs with 22 points and nine rebounds, Nowitzki had 21 points and eight boards, and Vince Carter finished with 18 points and six rebounds.
Phoenix jumped out to a 28-14 lead with 1:24 left in the first period
Goran Dragic paced the Suns with 22 points and 13 assists, Tucker had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Wesley Johnson and Jared Dudley scored 17 points apiece, Markieff Morris added 12 points and seven rebounds, and Scola added 11 points and a season-high 15 rebounds.
Dallas shot 40 percent from the field, while Phoenix shot 42 percent. The Mavs won the battle of the boards, 49-48.
With just four games left, the Mavs host the Denver Nuggets on Friday.
-- Dwain Price
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