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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, February 17th (All times eastern)

Dallas Mavericks (39-16) at Phoenix Suns (27-26), 10:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Aiming for their 40th win of the season before the All-Star break, the Dallas Mavericks will make a stop in the desert tonight to take on the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center.

There are three teams with 40 or more wins this season (Spurs, Heat, Celtics).

The Mavericks, who were 32-20 at the All-Star break last season, have won 12 of their last 13 games, including Wednesday's 116-100 win over the Sacramento Kings at American Airlines Center. Jason Kidd was one of eight different players to score in double figures with 20 points, Shawn Marion ended with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists and both Dirk Nowitzki and Rodrigue Beaubois netted 13 points for Dallas, which has won seven in a row at home.

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

Peja Stojakovic, Jason Terry and Brendan Haywood had 12 points apiece and J.J. Barea contributed 11 in a winning effort. Dallas' bench outscored Sacramento's by a 62-33 margin and put the game away with a 24-4 run in the third quarter. It also made a season-high 55.6 percent of its shots, including a 13-for-26 effort from three-point range.

The Mavs are 28-2 when scoring 100 or more points and have reached the century mark in scoring in 11 of the past 12 contests. They also had eight players in double figures for the first time since the 1992-1993 campaign. Haywood added 10 rebounds and Barea dished out 10 assists in the recent triumph.

Dallas will put its 18-8 record away from Big D on the line tonight.

Meanwhile, the Suns will continue a four-game homestand this evening and evened their mark on the residency with a 102-101 victory over the Utah Jazz Tuesday night.

Channing Frye scored 19 of his career-high 31 points in the first quarter, while Steve Nash compiled 20 points and 14 assists for Phoenix, which rebounded from Sunday's loss versus Sacramento and won for the seventh time in its last nine contests. The Suns swept the season series from the Jazz (3-0) for the first time since 1982-83 and for the fourth time in the 37-year history of the series.

"I thought we played great," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "I knew that they would obviously be a lot more stable playing in this game. (Al) Jefferson really gave them a good lift at the start of the game. Overall, I thought we did okay."

Nash has a double-double in five straight games and his 32 double-doubles on the season leads all NBA guards. Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat both had 11 points, while Grant Hill and Vince Carter ended with 10 points apiece in the recent win. Gortat has posted eight double-doubles off the bench -- the most by a Phoenix reserve since A.C. Green had eight during the 1994-95 season.

Phoenix will try to improve to a season-high tying two games over .500 for the first time since Dec. 5 (11-9), and is 12-5 in the last 17 contests. The Suns are 16-12 in the desert and will also host Atlanta on the residency.

The Suns dropped a 106-91 decision in Dallas on Dec. 17 this season and have lost seven of the previous nine meetings between the teams.

02/17 10:41:32 ET


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