Nowitzki leads Dallas to 2-OT win over Suns
=== Nowitzki leads Dallas to 2-OT win over Suns ===
Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki scored 28 points and grabbed 15
rebounds, as Dallas outlasted Phoenix 111-108 in double overtime in the
season-opener for both teams at America West Arena.
Jason Terry scored 23 points, including eight in the first overtime for the
Mavericks, who rallied from 17 points down in the fourth quarter to post the
improbable win and exact some revenge from last year’s playoff loss.
Dallas was defeated in six games by the Suns in last year’s Western Conference
Josh Howard had 16 points and 11 boards while Keith Van Horn came off the
bench to score 15 in the win.
Reigning league MVP Steve Nash poured in a game-high 30 points and dished out
nine assists for the Suns, who compiled the NBA’s best regular-season record
last season before eventually falling to San Antonio in the Conference Finals.
Raja Bell had 18 points and Shawn Marion contributed 13 points, 16 rebounds
and seven assists before fouling out in the loss.
Phoenix, though, opened this campaign without All-Star forward Amare
Stoudemire, who is expected to be out up to four months after having a
microfracture procedure on his left knee in early October.
In addition, the Suns were without two other starters from last year’s club,
as swingman Quentin Richardson was traded to the New York Knicks and Joe
Johnson, who was a restricted free agent, was dealt to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Mavericks scored the first five points in double overtime, capped by Van
Horn’s three-pointer, to take a 106-101 lead. Phoenix was able to pull within
two on several occasions and had numerous opportunities to tie the game, but
could not get a key basket down the stretch.
Following a turnover, Dallas then extended its lead to 111-108 as Van Horn hit
1-of-2 free throws with 23.7 seconds to play. Nash then brought the ball up
court and the Suns held onto it until the waning seconds where Nash unleashed
a wild three over Nowitzki’s outstretched arms as time ran out.
The ball, though, bounced off the back rim and fell to the ground as the game
came to an end.
In overtime, with Phoenix leading by one, Nash’s three-pointer with 3:35 left
made it 97-93. The Mavericks closed within three with 1:33 remaining and
following a miss by both teams, Nowitzki was then whistled for a costly
offensive foul as he drove the lane.
Nash made Dallas pay for the turnover as he found a wide open Boris Diaw for
an easy layup with 36 seconds left in OT. However, Marquis Daniels’ three-
pointer with 23 seconds to go kept the Mavs in the game and made it 101-99.
On the ensuing Suns possession, Nash missed a fadeaway jumper as time was
running out and Dallas grabbed the rebound before calling timeout with 3.3
Terry’s floater as time ran out then fell through the hoop and sent the game
to a second overtime.
Trailing by 11 after three quarters, the Mavericks fell behind by 13 on Eddie
House’s jumper with 8:33 left in regulation and were down 83-66 moments later.
However, Dallas would not go away.
Down 84-73 with around five minutes to play, the Mavericks used a 6-0 run,
keyed by five points from Nowitzki to climb within five points. Dallas later
closed within one on Nowitzki’s three with just under two minutes left and
after forcing another stop, Terry’s fastbreak layup put the Mavs on top,
87-86, with 1:21 remaining in the fourth.
Marion then scored a bucket following a timeout with one minute left. He was
also fouled on the play, but missed the ensuing free throw.
Terry then scored off the glass to put Dallas back up by one, 89-88, and after
a Nash miss with 22 seconds to play in regulation, Terry was fouled with 15.3
seconds left in the fourth. The guard netted 1-of-2 to make it 90-88, but Nash
was fouled at the other end. Nash, who is an excellent foul shooter, made both
shots with 4.4 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 90-90.
Nowitzki then missed a fadeaway three-pointer as time ran out in regulation.
Phoenix led 25-24 after a tightly-contested first quarter and the Suns went
into the locker room with a 53-43 edge.
The Mavericks pulled within 63-59 late in the third, but Phoenix closed out
the period in strong fashion and led 74-63 after three periods.
Daniels had 13 points for Dallas, which shot 45 percent from the floor and
made eight three-pointers…The Mavericks were 58-24 last year, which was the
second-best record in team history…Dallas has won six of its last seven
season-openers…James Jones also scored 13 for the Suns, who hit on 44
percent of their attempts and made seven shots from behind the arc…Phoenix
went 62-20 last season and advanced to the conference finals for the first
time since 1993. The Suns lost to San Antonio in five games…Phoenix had won
11 of its last 12 season-openers at home…Earlier in the day, Dallas
announced that center Pavel Podkolzin underwent successful surgery on his
right foot stress fracture. He will be on crutches for six weeks and needs a
total recovery time of 3-4 months.