Three-Point Onslaught Leads Suns Over Mavs
Phoenix 117, Dallas 104
PHOENIX, April 13 (Ticker) -- Shawn Marion was dominant on the inside, but it was the outside shooting of Tim Thomas and Raja Bell that led the Phoenix Suns to another victory.
Marion scored 29 points on 12-of-16 shooting while Thomas and Bell combined for 11 of the Suns' 16 3-pointers as they rolled to a 117-104 triumph over the Dallas Mavericks.
"Even the times we were in their face, they still seemed to make some shots," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "Our season is not over ... but we know where we are going to finish now. The only thing that really matters is to get guys healthy mentally and physically."
Phoenix, which needs nine more 3-pointers to break the league record it set last season, was 16-of-24 from the arc as it took the lead for good just 1 1/2 minutes into the game.
"The threes, they were pretty timely," said Bell, who is 13-of-18 from the arc in the last three games. "We had a lot of guys knocking them down shots. That is what happens when you get productivity across the board. It's hard for one guy to go cold. Everybody is going to have their moments getting hot."
Thomas drained all but one of his seven shots from 3-point range en route to 22 points while Bell, who scored 21 points, was 5-of-5 from the arc for the Suns, who led by as much as 85-64 with 3:28 left in the third quarter.
"That is what we do best, we shoot the 3-ball," Thomas said. "We do a great job of spacing the floor. With the spacing that we have and me being able to shoot the basketball, it makes things a whole lot easier."
Dirk Nowitzki collected 36 points and 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, who rallied to get within 102-96 with just under five minutes remaining.
"We kept battling in the second half but we dug ourselves out of a big hole against a great offensive team," Nowitzki said. "They were shooting the lights out. Raja and Tim Thomas were on fire. When they shoot the ball from the outside like that, they are tough to beat."
However, Bell and Thomas each hit a 3-pointers as the Suns re-established a 12-point advantage and never were threatened thereafter.
"It was just like playoff atmosphere out there," Marion said. "They got back in the fourth quarter but we came back and closed it out. We did what ever it takes. We got some big stops when we need to and hit some big shots when we needed to."
Suns coach Mike D'Antoni pointed out the physicality of the game, which included each team getting called for two flagrant fouls.
"We got a little testy out there, they got a little testy out there," D'Antoni said. "It was a nice atmosphere. Our guys had a lot of spirit and a lot of fight. Maybe too much fight but it looked good."
"We proved we could play in a physical game too," Marion said.