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Frye had 14 rebounds against Dallas the last time the two clubs faced.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)
Posted: Feb. 16, 2011

The Dallas Mavericks are playing more like the elite team that cruised through the first two months of the season than the banged-up club that struggled through a dismal stretch after Christmas.

With growing contributions from Peja Stojakovic and Rodrigue Beaubois, they might be getting even better.

Seeking a 13th win in 14 games Thursday night, the visiting Mavericks will try for a sixth win in seven meetings with the Phoenix Suns before both teams head into the All-Star break.

The Mavericks (39-16) led by 13 at halftime and were able to rest their starters after using a 24-4 run late in the third quarter to put Wednesday night's 116-110 win over Sacramento out of reach.

"I don't know if I envisioned eight guys in double figures, but we wanted to win the game," coach Rick Carlisle told NBA.com. "It's always good when you can keep the minutes reasonable heading into a back-to-back, so those were positives."

Stojakovic, who signed with Dallas on Jan. 24 after his contract was bought out by Toronto, scored 12 points Wednesday and has totaled 34 while making 6 of 11 from 3-point range in his last two games.

Beaubois scored 13 and recorded six assists in his season debut against the Kings after missing 54 games with a fractured left foot.

"The foot is good," he said. "I have to get my legs into it. The cardio is kind of tough."

Beaubois, who averaged 7.1 points as a rookie in 2009-10, showed his potential with a career-best 40-point effort in a win at Golden State last March, and should provide a spark off the bench for a Mavericks offense that has already topped 100 points in 11 of its last 12.

"He's going to get us a lot of wide-open looks," said Jason Kidd, who made a season-best six 3-pointers en route to 20 points Wednesday. "The big thing is just for him to get more minutes and to get more comfortable."

Dallas, which was 24-5 on Dec. 27, followed up its impressive start with a 2-9 stretch as 10-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki missed nine games with a sprained right knee and took a while longer to get back to full strength.

The Mavericks, though, have since won 13 of 15 while averaging 103.9 points -- 5.2 more than their season mark -- and sit in second place in the Western Conference.

Dallas has defeated Phoenix in five of six while averaging 113.8 points on 50.1 percent shooting.

The Suns (27-26) are also playing much better of late. They've won seven of nine after defeating Utah 102-101 on Tuesday night thanks in large part to Channing Frye's career-high 31 points and 11 rebounds.

Frye went 6 of 10 from 3-point range as Phoenix improved to 10-1 when he makes more than three 3-pointers.

"I guess I got to do the playground thing and tell them when the guy is hot we need to try and find him," coach Alvin Gentry said.

Steve Nash also came up big with 20 points and 14 assists, registering his fifth consecutive double-double.

Nash, who spent six seasons with the Mavericks, was averaging 19.7 points and 11.6 assists against Dallas since rejoining Phoenix in 2004 before finishing with four and one, respectively, in a 106-91 loss at Dallas on Dec. 17. He left that game in the first quarter with a neck injury.

Nash moved into seventh place all-time in assists with his latest effort but still remains 2,397 behind Kidd's 11,369 -- the second-most in NBA history.

Nowitzki, who leads the Mavericks with 22.4 points per game, is averaging 28.9 and 9.8 rebounds in his last nine visits to Phoenix.

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