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NBA Game Summary - Phoenix at Dallas

(Wednesday, December 14th)

Final Score: Dallas 102, Phoenix 96

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Phoenix Suns, 102-96, at American Airlines Center.

Jason Terry chipped in 23 points for the Mavericks, who won for the sixth time in their last seven games. Josh Howard netted 15 points and had a career-high 18 rebounds off the bench in the win.

"I thought everyone came out and played great tonight, but take your hat off to Josh Howard," said Terry. "This guys out there on one leg and he's giving it all he had."

Shawn Marion scored 23 points and grabbed a game-high and season-high 19 rebounds for the Suns, who lost for the third straight game. Steve Nash added 20 points and five assists, while Kurt Thomas scored 12 points and seven rebounds.

"We played as hard as we could. I think overall it was a good game," said Suns head coach Mike D'Antoni. "It was exciting, but we didn't quite have enough."

Phoenix would hold a lead through the early portion of the first quarter and Raja Bell's jumper put the Suns ahead 17-12. However, four straight points by Nowitzki sparked an 18-2 Dallas spurt that gave the Mavericks a 30-19 lead with 45 seconds remaining. Phoenix then scored the last five points of the frame to pull within 30-24 after one.

"We got off to a good start in the first quarter and set the tone for the whole game," said Dallas head coach Avery Johnson. "I thought our defense was pretty steady...we tried to contest as many shots as we could."

Howard's basket put Dallas ahead 36-26 with 8:50 left in the second until a 7-2 run by the Suns cut the deficit to 38-33. However, the Mavericks responded with an 8-2 spurt to go ahead 46-35 with 3:49 remaining and Dallas led 52-44 at halftime.

The Suns scored the first six points of the third frame to pull within 52-50, but again Dallas countered, this time with a 6-0 spurt of its own, to go ahead 58-50. Nowitzki's jumper later kept Dallas ahead 65-55 with 5:38 left, but a 9-3 spurt by the Suns made it a 68-64.

Phoenix would get no closer in the frame and Nowitzki's jump shot gave Dallas a 77-70 lead after three.

The Mavericks held a large lead through the early portion of the fourth stanza until a 6-0 run, capped by two Bell free throws, made it 90-85 with 6:56 left in the frame. Later, Phoenix stayed within five, 95-90, after a Shawn Marion three-point basket.

Nowitzki then connected on two free throws before four straight points by the Suns made it a 97-94 contest with just under 2 1/2 minutes left in the fourth.

It stayed a three-point game after a pair of free throws by Steve Nash, 99-96, but the Suns would then go cold from the floor and Dallas hit its free throws down the stretch to hold on for the victory.

Game Notes

Thomas was called for a flagrant foul on Marquis Daniels with 7:54 left in the third. Daniels later left with a strained neck and did not return. Daniels scored 15 points before leaving...Bell finished with 12 points...Devin Harris netted 13 points for Dallas, while Erick Dampier pulled down 12 rebounds... Phoenix shot only 39.8 percent from the floor to Dallas' 46.1 percent... Despite hitting their free throws down the stretch, the Mavericks made only a season-low 56.3 percent from the free-throw line.

12/15 00:01:09 ET

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