PHOENIX, Feb. 17 (Ticker) -- Michael Finley
kept the Dallas Mavericks
on a roll heading into the All-Star break.
Finley scored 25 of his season-high 33 points in the second half
as the Mavericks rallied from an 11-point deficit to post a
119-113 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
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Dallas improved to 4-0 on its five-game road trip, which
includes victories over Sacramento, Seattle and Phoenix - three
of the top five teams in the powerful Western Conference. The
Mavericks also won at lowly Golden State.
"That was an incredible road trip," Dallas coach Don Nelson
said. "We just capped off a perfect week. This was our best
game in a long time. We needed to be good today."
The Mavs did not take control of this one until the fourth
quarter. After Jake Voskuhl
's layup gave the Suns a 91-83 lead
with just under 11 minutes remaining, Josh Howard
three-point play on the other end to ignite a 24-7 run over the
next six minutes.
Finley scored nine points in the spurt, which he capped with
a 3-pointer that made it 107-98 with 5:03 left.
"Finley came out on fire in the second half," Suns All-Star
said. "Dallas came out and played great ball
all around, inside and outside."
Phoenix made one final push, drawing within 111-106 on
Stoudemire's three-point play with 73 seconds to go, but Finley
all but sealed the victory with a tough fadeaway jumper over
24 seconds later.
"Coach wanted to get a late shot on the shot clock and I knew
that," said Finley, who made 13-of-21 shots, including 5-of-8
from the arc. "I drove left and tried to fake the man but he
didn't fall for it. But I was still able to get a good shot off
and once I let it go I knew it was going in."
Stoudemire scored eight of his 30 points in an 18-2 run to close
the first half, including a jumper at the buzzer that gave
Phoenix a 55-45 lead.
The Suns pushed the lead to 60-49 before Howard scored 10 of his
career-high 30 in the third period as the Mavericks drew within
"I thought everyone made a contribution, especially Josh
Howard," Nelson said. "He played the best game of his career."
All-Star Steve Nash
converted a three-point play in the waning
seconds to put the Suns ahead by four entering the final
Nash had 19 points and 11 assists in his second game against his
former team. He had 17 and 18 in his return to Dallas on
Nov. 16 - a 107-01 win for Phoenix.
Richardson added 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting for the Suns, who
have allowed an average 117.0 points in their last five games.
"We just didn't stop them in the second half," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni
said. "We gave them 74 points and that is way too
many. We weren't clicking on offense and defensively we didn't
play well enough."
With starting center Erick Dampier
nursing a right foot injury,
the Mavericks got a big lift from reserve Calvin Booth
scored eight of his season-high 10 points in the fourth quarter.
"We got guys on the bench that can step up and that is what they
did," Howard said. "That is a good sign of a team coming
together. It was a fast-paced game and we had to suck it up if
we wanted to win."
All-Star Dirk Nowitzki
had 16 points and 16 rebounds for Dallas,
which shot 54 percent (45-of-84) and improved to 13-0 when
making at least half of its shots.