DALLAS, Feb. 26 (Ticker) --
The Phoenix Suns certainly are not known for
their defense, except when it comes to nailing down a big road
Seconds after Joe Johnson
hit a go-ahead jumper, Shawn Marion
blocked a layup try by Dirk Nowitzki
to finish a furious rally
and give the Suns a 124-123 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
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The play was strangely similar to another clutch victory on the
road for the Suns, who are a league-best 23-7 away from home.
In a 125-123 win at Sacramento on Feb. 9, Amare Stoudemire
blocked Kings center Brad Miller
's last-second layup as the
Marion scored 25 points, had 13 rebounds and was the defensive
star in this one, much to the chagrin of Nowitzki.
"I thought I got fouled," Nowitzki said. "But it shouldn't have
come down to that play. We had a good lead but couldn't
execute down the stretch. (The referees) could have called it
or not called it. I thought I got hit."
The Suns scored the game's final seven points, starting with
's 3-pointer with 62 seconds left to pull
Stoudemire, who scored 33 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, hit a
pair of free throws to pull the Suns within one in the final
minute and, after Nowitzki missed a runner, Johnson buried a
16-footer in the face of newly acquired Keith Van Horn
"We kept making shots," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni
last team that made the shot won. Joe Johnson hit the game
winner, Q (Richardson) hit a big shot. Amare, we rode him for a
while. Everybody contributed and played hard. I thought it
was a great game."
"I came off Amare's pick and had no intentions of passing,"
Johnson said. "Van Horn gave me a step so I just hesitated for
a little bit and then pulled up for the sure jumper. He didn't
really come out. He gave me about two feet."
Van Horn, who was acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday,
thought he was in good position to defend against the shot.
"I contested it and he knocked it down," Van Horn said. "That's
all, you can give yourself the opportunity to try to make the
block. The guy just made the shot."
Following Johnson's jumper, Nowitzki took the ensuing inbounds
pass and found an easy path to the hoop for what should have
been a game-winning basket. Marion, who appeared to be caught
off guard on the play, recovered to get a piece of the ball from
behind as Nowitzki rose to the basket.
"He had a step on me," Marion said. "He went up for it so fast
and I just swiped at it and knocked it out of his hands. Then I
got the ball. I didn't foul him, it was all ball."
Marion grabbed the ball before it went out of bounds and a
stunned Dallas squad failed to foul him as time expired.
"It looked like a foul to me," said Mavericks forward Josh Howard
, who scored 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting. "They called
the block, though. You've got to move on."
Richardson scored 26 points and Johnson 18 as Phoenix survived
without star point guard and ex-Maverick Steve Nash
, who missed
his second straight game with a strained left hamstring.
The Suns improved to 2-3 without Nash in the lineup this season.
Nowitzki scored 26 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and had four of
Dallas' season-high 18 steals. Jason Terry
added 27 points for
the Mavericks, who had their season-high six-game winning streak
"Down the stretch timely scoring was definitely the key," Terry
said. "I thought it was our game to take. We were right there
with four seconds to go. Neither team was going to stop the