Nine fourth quarter points doesn’t cut it, Suns lose to Mavs 91-78
Tonight was “Star Wars Night” as the Suns took on the Mavericks in Dallas, but there was a noticeable absence of stars. Dirk Nowitzki was out for the Mavs, while the Suns were still missing their two top players, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.
Without Nowitzki, it looked like the Suns would be able to match up well with Dallas, which they did for a majority of the game. Dallas put out a small starting lineup, which forced the Suns to change their recent Twin Tower strategy. Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons started at the forward spots for the Mavs, and the Suns started Mirza Teletovic rather than Alex Len to counter the small-ball lineup. Teletovic took advantage of getting the start and scored the first six Suns’ points, hitting his first two three pointers. Both teams battled hard, and the Suns came away with the rare first quarter advantage, 23-21.
The previously mentioned Twin Towers came up big for the Suns in the second quarter. Len started off the quarter with a beautiful move on JaVale (Shaqtin’) McGee, catching the ball underneath the hoop and smoothly laying in the ball for the bucket. Tyson Chandler did good work in the paint all night; grabbing rebounds, protecting the rim, and drawing fouls. The Suns were using their rare size advantage to hang tight in the game, but found themselves trailing by six at the half.
The Suns came out of the locker room after halftime and played some very crisp basketball. These moments have been few and far between, so if you need to restore some faith in your Suns, go re-watch this third quarter. Rookie, Devin Booker was the star of the quarter for the Suns and put up some pretty impressive stats during his playing time in the third. He scored 12 points, grabbed two rebounds, and passed off three assists, and a lot of that came during a great 10-0 run by the Suns. Phoenix outscored the Mavs by seven in the quarter and took a one point lead into the final quarter, 69-68.
Then, that pesky fourth quarter showed up. Things actually looked promising from the start of the quarter though, as Markieff Morris got into the lane for a nice layup, followed by a big Len rejection on the other side of the court. Morris came back down and hit a pretty turnaround jumper to stretch the lead to five, and ended up scoring nine points in a row for the Suns. Sadly, the Suns only scored NINE points in the entire fourth quarter as they watched the outcome of the game shift into the Mavs’ favor.
The Suns were led by Booker, who finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Teletovic had some solid stretches in his 20 minutes of play, tallying 14 points on the night. Chandler finished with a double-double, 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Utah-era Deron Williams was the star of the game for Dallas tonight, putting up 27 points. He really gave the PG-less Suns trouble all night, going 10-19 from the field and 5-5 from the free throw line. Chandler Parsons, now the second-most-handsome player in the league, was out-played and out-handsomed by Devin Booker, but ended up with 15 points.
The Suns have Monday off as they await the arrival of the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, February 2nd. Tip-off is set for 7:00 MST.