Monday , May , 16 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Dallas wins despite Nash’s 48

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Josh Howard had 29 points and Dirk Nowitzki
added 25, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 119-109 victory over the Phoenix
Suns in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series on Sunday.

League MVP Steve Nash poured in a career-high 48 points to lead the Suns,
scoring 35 of those points in the second half. But despite his career
performance, Phoenix could not stop Dallas from evening the best-of-seven-
series at 2-2.

“I had to be aggressive to make them pay for the way they were playing,” Nash
said. “But we just got out-hustled. You can look at the oddity of me scoring a
bunch of points and not having many assists (five).”

Jerry Stackhouse collected 22 points off the bench for the Mavericks, who
built a 16-point lead by halftime. Erick Dampier added 13 points and 11
rebounds in the victory.

The teams have alternated wins and losses so far. Game 5 is scheduled for
Wednesday in Phoenix, where the Suns scored 233 points over the first two
games, but came away with just one win.

Shawn Marion had 19 points and a game-high 12 rebounds in the loss for
Phoenix. Amare Stoudemire added 15 points, Quentin Richardson scored 13 and
Jim Jackson had 11.

Nash scored 23 of Phoenix’s 29 points in the third quarter, but the Suns
couldn’t make much of a dent in Dallas’ 66-50 halftime lead.

Phoenix got as close as 11 points in the third quarter three times, but
Nowitzki ended the period with a three-point play to give the Mavericks a
93-79 lead heading into the fourth.

Nash went on to score 12 more points in the fourth quarter, including two that
got the Suns within 103-94 midway through the period. But Dallas scored 10 of
the next 13 points to go up 16, and Phoenix would never be closer than nine
the rest of the way.

“We had the gas, we just didn’t apply our talent,” said Suns head coach Mike
D’Antoni. “We just have to win two out of three now.”

Nash ended the game 20-of-28 from the field, getting most of his 48 points on
drives to the basket. Only Charles Barkley has scored more points for the Suns
in a playoff game — 56 against Golden State on May 4, 1994.

Phoenix shot 51 percent for the game and went 8-of-21 on three-pointers. But
Dallas was even better, hitting on 55 percent of its shots and six of its 14
three-point tries.

“It was just a great Western Conference shootout,” said Dallas head coach
Avery Johnson.

Nowitzki scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half, and Dallas led by as
many as 21 on the way to a 66-50 advantage at the break.

“We shot fifty percent and scored 109 points…we just couldn’t get out of the
hole we dug for ourselves in the first half,” Nash said.