The Phoenix Suns have been comfortable on the road all season. After one big win in Texas, they're primed to do something they haven't done in nearly a decade.
Phoenix looks to complete a road sweep of the NBA's two Texas teams Wednesday night when it visits the Dallas Mavericks.
The Suns (18-7), who defeated the Spurs 100-95 at San Antonio on Monday, haven't beaten both Texas teams on the same road trip since Feb. 14 and 17, 1998.
They could also enter this game on a high, after handing San Antonio its first loss in 14 home games this season before a charged crowd.
"It definitely was fun to play the last few minutes. High intensity. The fans were up and at it,'' said Amare Stoudemire, who had 17 points for Phoenix. "A playoff atmosphere. If you get a playoff atmosphere game in December, you know it's fun to play.''
Although the Suns improved to a conference-best 11-4 on the road and defeated the team which eliminated them from last postseason, they also treated it as just one game.
"This game is a good building block for us and all that's left is to complete our trip with a win in Dallas," said forward Grant Hill, who scored a team-high 22 points against the Spurs while adding seven rebounds.
Phoenix's last visit to Dallas was one of the most memorable games of the 2006-07 season. The Suns came from 15 down at the start of the fourth quarter to force overtime, and eventually won 129-127 in double overtime thanks to Stoudemire's 41 points and Steve Nash's 32 points and 16 assists.
Phoenix has won its last two meetings with Dallas, but the series has been very even since the start of 2003-04, with the Mavericks holding an 8-7 advantage.
Overall, Dallas (17-9) has won three in a row and five of six, and is coming off a 111-108 win on Monday against Orlando which improved the Mavs to 11-2 at home.
"I think we're taking a step in the right direction,'' said Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 31 points - his third 30-point game in the last seven. He also had 11 rebounds and four assists, and hit his first 3-pointer in four games late in the fourth quarter.
Nowitzki is a career 38 percent shooter from beyond the arc, but is hitting just 20.6 percent of his long-distance attempts this season.
"I don't know why my 3 ball is not going in,'' Nowitzki said. "That's something I'll continue to shoot when it's there. Hopefully as the season progresses I can make enough at a higher percentage.''
While Nowitzki's scoring average is down to 21.2 this season from 24.6 when he was the NBA's MVP in 2006-07, Josh Howard has elevated his game. He's averaging 21.8 points and 7.1 rebounds - both career bests - in his fifth pro season.
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