DALLAS, May 15 (Ticker) -- Steve Nash
seemingly could not miss at his
old arena. Unfortunately for the league's Most Valuable Player,
and his other Phoenix Suns teammates did not
give him much support.
Nash scored a career-high 48 points but Stoudemire had just 15
as the Suns fell to the Dallas Mavericks, 119-109, to see their
Western Conference semifinal series leveled at two games apiece.
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collected 29 points and 10 rebounds, Dirk Nowitzki
added 25 points and reserve Jerry Stackhouse
22 for the
fourth-seeded Mavericks, who won Game 2 at Phoenix but lost
Game 3 at the American Airlines Center on Friday, 119-102.
"This was the most important game of the series for us,"
Stackhouse said. "Once we lost the first game at home, we had to
have this game, and I don't think nobody in our locker room
wanted to go back to Phoenix down 3-1."
Stoudemire, who averaged 35.7 points in the first three games,
never got going against Mavericks center Erick Dampier
4. Dampier, who was outscored by Stoudemire by 40-0 in a Game
1 loss, recorded 13 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks in
this one and limited the All-Star Stoudemire to just 3-of-8
"I just went out and played as aggressive as I could," Dampier
said. "Whenever (Stoudemire) put the ball on the floor, whenever
he drove, I just tried to contest his shot."
Dallas trailed, 22-21, before going on an 11-0 run bridging the
first two quarters. The Mavericks pushed their advantage to as
much as 66-45 on a jumper by Nowitzki before the Suns scored the
final five points of the half.
"We didn't come out with the kind of desperation they came out
with, and we paid for it," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni
The Mavericks, who took a 93-79 cushion into the final period,
led between nine and 16 points throughout the last 12 minutes.
Nash - who played in Dallas from 1998-2004 - connected on
20-of-28 shots but the Mavericks seemed content on letting him
score rather than set up teammates for easy baskets. The
Canadian had five assists - 12 fewer than Game 3 - but
committed nine turnovers.
"Obviously, they changed their game plan a little bit," Nash
said. "I felt like I had to be more aggressive to make them play
for the way they were playing. They know that's not the way we
really want to play, we like to share it around, so they did a
good job making us adjust."
Game 5 is Wednesday in Phoenix.
"It was a total team effort tonight. Great win for our team,"
Mavericks coach Avery Johnson
said. "Obviously, we still have a
ton of things to improve on, (but it was) just a great Western
The Suns shot 51 percent (42-of-82) but allowed the Mavericks to
connect on 55 percent (46-of-83).
"We shot 50 percent and we scored 109 points," Nash said.
"That's enough to win. In the first half, (we) gave up too many
Phoenix played its second straight game without starting guard
Joe Johnson, who suffered a fractured left orbital bone after a
hard fall in Game 2. Jim Jackson
started in his place and
scored 11 points, but the Suns' bench managed just three points,
all by guard Leandro Barbosa