Suns at Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks look to continue a long pattern of success against Phoenix when they host the Suns on Sunday. Dallas has won nine of the past 10 regular-season meetings and also has won nine consecutive home games against Phoenix dating to March 14, 2007, when the Suns prevailed in double overtime. Phoenix lost to San Antonio on Saturday for its first loss in three games under interim coach Lindsey Hunter.
The Suns have responded well to Hunter’s methods since he replaced fired Alvin Gentry. The Mavericks have won five of their last seven games but Friday’s loss to the Spurs leaft them seven games under .500. The contest with the Suns is highly important because Dallas’ next four games are on the road. “Obviously, it’s a game we need to have going on the road for four tough games,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “It’s a must win, or as close as its gets in the regular season, and we need to get some momentum back rolling before we hit the road.” O.J. Mayo scored 23 points when Dallas won in Phoenix 97-94 on Dec. 6.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Arizona (Phoenix), Fox Sports Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE SUNS (15-29): Forward Michael Beasley scored a season-high 25 points in the loss to the Spurs and has played well in two of three games since Hunter took over. Beasley started the first 20 games of the season but his production slipped and Gentry decreased his minutes. Beasley had 19 points in Hunter’s debut and was splendid by hitting 11 of 16 shots against San Antonio. Guard Jared Dudley also had a superb shooting night by going 10-of-12 en route to 23 points. Dudley had tallied just 11 points over the previous two games.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (18-25): Guard Roddy Beaubois reached double digits for only the second time all season when he scored a season-high 19 points in the loss to San Antonio. Beaubois’ only other double-figure outing came when he scored 11 points in the season-opening victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. “Just trying to be more aggressive because I haven’t been myself lately,” said Beaubois, averaging just 3.5 points this season after scoring 8.9 per game last season. Coach Rick Carlisle was highly impressed with the performance. “He was terrific,” Carlisle said. “To me, it’s not the points, it’s the energy, the enthusiasm and the disposition and it’s up to him. If he plays like this, he’s got a chance to secure the backup (point guard) position and he’ll challenge for the starting position.”
1. Dallas has been victorious in 21 of its last 26 home games against Phoenix.
2. Suns PG Goran Dragic is averaging 9.7 assists over the last three contests.
3. Nowitzki has a 22.8 scoring average in 52 career games against the Suns.
Mavericks 98, Suns 92.