COACHING CHANGES EXPANDED MATCHUPS DEPTH CHARTS CURRENT ODDS
Suns, Mavs battle in critical Western Conference showdown
(SportsNetwork.com) - A huge Western Conference matchup with massive playoff implications takes place Saturday night when the Phoenix Suns visit American Airlines Center to face the Dallas Mavericks.
Dallas is in the seventh position in the Western Conference, just a half-game ahead of both the Suns and Memphis Grizzlies.
The schedules will prove interesting as the Mavericks finish the season Wednesday in Memphis. Phoenix will play Saturday's contest, then host the Grizzlies on Monday and end things at Sacramento on Wednesday. Memphis visits the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, the Suns on Monday, then welcomes the Mavs on Wednesday.
The Grizzlies own the tiebreaker over the Suns by virtue of winning the head- to-head series.
The Mavericks had a four-game winning streak ended Thursday night with a home loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Dallas fell, 109-100, and has dropped two straight at home.
Monta Ellis paced the Mavericks with 24 points and Dirk Nowitzki scored 19. Jose Calderon chipped in 14, followed by 12 from Shawn Marion. Samuel Dalembert pulled down 11 rebounds in defeat.
"Most of our problems were in transition," said Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle, referring to San Antonio's 35 transition points. "We just didn't find them quick enough."
The Suns can tell a similar tale as Dallas. They had a three-game winning streak snapped by the Spurs, although Phoenix's run came to a close in San Antonio on Friday night with a 112-104 setback.
Eric Bledsoe tallied 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for the Suns, but turned the ball over seven times, while Gerald Green scored 27 points. Markieff Morris chipped in 20 off the bench and Channing Frye managed 13 points.
After Frye's 3-pointer staked Phoenix to a 98-97 edge with 4:25 left, the Spurs responded with triples by Kawhi Leonard, Marco Belinelli and Danny Green as part of a 9-2 flurry to give them a 106-100 advantage with 1:59 to go.
San Antonio sunk 5-of-6 free throws in the final 20 seconds to seal the outcome.
"At the end of the day, we beat ourselves. Too many turnovers on my part," Bledsoe said.
Phoenix committed 20 turnovers which led to 26 Spurs points.
These two teams split two matchups this season, both of which were in Phoenix. The Suns are 2-11 in their last 13 in Big D and 3-12 in their last 15 overall against the Mavericks.
04/12 11:51:31 ET