Mavs Rapid Fire: 'Play-Hard' Dallas Extinguishes Suns

'I thought we played extremely hard from start to finish,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said after Monday's 104-94 home win over the Suns, and recent events make that quite an accomplishment. Rapid Fire:

Mavs Rapid Fire: Dallas Extinguishes Suns, 104-94

1. Coming off of back-to-back brutal three-point losses, the Mavs looked to rebound against a Suns team that they dominated on the opening night of the season. Dallas desperately needed a win on their home floor after dropping two straight to the eastern conference at the AAC, and with some tough games in front of them in the coming weeks. 

2. If you are a fan of point guard play, D-Will is the guy you want to watch. He possesses silky smooth handles to go along with fantastic court vision and a pinpoint passing. Combine those things with his scoring ability, and you’ve got one of the most dynamic guards in the NBA. His career has rebounded in a big way since he has arrived Dallas, and he’s looking more and more like the guy that the Mavs coveted a couple of off seasons ago.

 

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D-Will ended his night with 18 points, including the game clinching three with just over a minute to go. 

3. The first quarter ended with the Mavs up 25-21 thanks to a hot start out of the gate, and good bench play to round out the quarter. Dallas used the energy of Devin Harris and Dwight Powell to close the quarter with five straight points. 

4. Brandon Knight torched the Mavs in the first quarter, going four for seven and scoring 10 points. Knight has the ability to score in bunches, and he showed that in the first. The Mavs were able to slow him down after that however, holding him to just two points for the rest of the game. 

5. Dwight Powell was important for the Mavs in Monday night’s game, especially in the first half. His activity on the boards as well as his developing offensive game give the Mavs a big off the bench that they can feel confident about night in and night out. Powell finished the game with eight points and six rebounds in 16 minutes. 

6. Devin Harris brought a lot of energy off the bench in the first half of this game, and it really helped the Mavs get going. Say what you will about Harris, but he is relentless on the court and runs the floor extremely well. Harris finished with 12 points and six steals (tying his career high) in 23 minutes. 

7. Ray Felton was in big-time form, scoring 17 points on 54-percent shooting. Ray continues to prove himself night in and night out, and has become an important part of the Mavs offensive attack this season. 

8. The Mavs held a 46-43 lead at the end of the first half, outscoring the Suns 22-21 in the quarter. The Mavs' balance on offense was a big factor, but it was an opportunistic defensive effort that gave them edge. The Mavs forced 11 first half takeaways, and did a good job of slowing down Brandon Knight after his hot start in the first. 

9. The Suns are an exciting young team highlighted by the dynamic scoring backcourt combination of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.  They have a nice young core to build around their young guards with center Alex Len, and forward PJ Tucker as well. While the Tyson Chandler acquisition hasn’t exactly worked out so far for the Suns (TY has missed ample time due to injury), they have a bright future ahead of them as long if they can add some pieces to an already talented young roster.

10. Eric Bledsoe in particular is a player that Suns fans should be very excited about moving forward. Coming into the night, Bledsoe was averaging 22.3 points and 6.5 assists per game, while leading the league with 13 drives to the basket per game. His attacking offensive style is a perfect fit for the Suns offense, and he gels quite nicely with his backcourt mate, Brandon Knight. Bledsoe would finish the game with 23 points, three steals and 7 assists.

11. The Mavs dominated the paint on for most of the game on Monday, in the end outscoring the Suns 38-36 in that area of the floor. Dallas attacked the Suns interior at will in the second half, and it proved to be the difference in the game. Phoenix hit some shots in the paint late to close the gap, but make no mistake: the paint was the Mavs territory here. 

12. Wes Matthews answered his 28-point explosion against the Wizards on Saturday night with a solid 13-point outing here. Wes has had a newfound confidence about him when shooting the basketball over the last few games, making 23 threes in the last five games. 

13. The way the Mavs move the ball on the offensive end is very impressive. This team is unselfish and is always looking to find the guy with the best chance to score. Making the extra pass instead of settling for a bad jumper can make a big difference in a team’s offensive consistency. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Dallas ranks in the top 10 of the NBA in that category.

14. The Mavs used an explosive end to the third quarter to blow this game wide-open heading into the fourth. Dallas outscored the Suns 31-15 in the third, taking a 77-58 lead to end the quarter. Chandler Parsons capped things off hitting a running bank shot with fourth tenths of a second left, and giving Dallas the momentum. 

15.  Dallas has had a hard time holding on to big leads this season. After leading by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter, The Suns got themselves back into the game and forcing the Mavs back onto their heels a bit. The Mavs need to find a way to keep teams from mounting these kinds of comebacks, or it’s going to bite them down the road. 

17. Chandler Parsons roll off the bench was a big on one Monday, with CP scoring 17 points in 26 minutes of action. Having Parsons late in this game was a big key for the Mavs, as Parsons hit a couple of big shots down the stretch to keep Phoenix at bay. 

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“It felt great,” Parsons later said after shaking off his struggles since a hybrid microfracture knee surgery this offseason. “You know, I said all along that it’s been very frustrating, struggling like this, not being able to move the way I feel I should move and not making shots. And I just feel slow. But tonight, it was good to get back to myself and get in a rhythm. And every shot I took, I felt like I was going to make the next one.”

16. In the end, the Mavs used solid defense and a balanced, efficient offense to defeat the Suns 104-94. Dallas desperately needed a win after two straight heartbreaking losses, and will look to build on this victory when they take on Indiana on Wednesday. With the win, Dallas improved to six and five at the AAC and 14-11 overall on the year. 

The Dirkie/Player of the game: The Guards. Deron Williams, Ray Felton, and Devin Harris combined for 47 points, nine steals and nine assists in this game. Head over to the DB.com message boards and give us your choice for the Dirkie! ... in honor of the icon, of course.

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Stat(s) of the night: Shooting. Dallas shot nearly 50 percent from the field on Monday night, including 37 percent from beyond the arc. 

The game was over when... Deron Williams drilled a three late in the fourth, giving the Mavs a nine point lead with just over a minute to go in the game. 

Should have seen coming... Phoenix closing the gap. Dallas has a bad habit of blowing big leads and it almost cost them here. 

Couldn't see coming... The bottom of the Phoenix bench. Sonny Weems, TJ Warren and Archie Goodwin combined to score 25 points, most of which came in the fourth quarter. This group gave the Mavs a big scare down the stretch of this game. 

What's next?: The Mavericks (14-11) head up to Indianapolis to face Paul George and the Indiana Pacers at 6pm Wednesday from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 

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The Final Word ... “This is a huge win for us after dropping two winnable games at home,” said Chandler Parsons (15 of his 17 points in the second half) of a Mavs team that hadn't suffered a three-games-plus winless homestand since February 1998. “We really needed this one.''


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