Friday , May , 26 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Suns hope to leave Dallas with 2-0 lead in West finals

=== Suns hope to leave Dallas with 2-0 lead in West finals ===

(Sports Network) – The Phoenix Suns try to take a 2-0 lead over the Dallas
Mavericks tonight, as the clubs meet for Game 2 of the Western Conference
finals at American Airlines Center.

Game 3 of this best-of-seven series is scheduled for Sunday at the US Airways
Center. Even though the Suns are the higher seed, the Mavericks entered the
series with the home-court advantage as a result of their better overall
record during the regular season.

On Wednesday, Boris Diaw drained a short jumper with less than a second
remaining to lift the second-seeded Suns over No. 4 Dallas, 121-118, in Game 1
of the conference finals at American Airlines Center. Diaw ended with a
playoff career-high 34 points on 13-of-23 shooting for the Suns, who rallied
from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to steal homecourt advantage in the
opener of the set.

Reigning MVP Steve Nash, who spearheaded a 16-4 run to end the game for
Phoenix, ended with 27 points and 16 assists, while Shawn Marion added 24
points and 13 boards in Game 1’s win for the Suns, who have won the series
opener in each round this playoff series.

Devin Harris had a playoff career-high 30 points in the loss for the Mavs,
while All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki finished with 25 points and 19 boards for
Dallas.

On the injury front, Phoenix guard Raja Bell (mild to moderate tear of left
calf) is expected to miss tonight’s contest, while forward Josh Howard (bone
bruise on right ankle) and center DeSagana Diop (broken nose) are questionable
for Dallas.

Dallas has won two straight and seven of its last 10 Game 2s in the
postseason, while Phoenix has dropped four straight Game 2s.

This is the second time that these teams have met in the postseason. Last
year, the Suns knocked out the Mavericks in six games in the conference
semifinals.

Phoenix, which won the Pacific Division during the regular season, has made
it to the conference finals for the eighth time in franchise history.
The Suns, who also made it to this round in 1976, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1990,
1993 and 2005, are 2-5 in the conference finals. They defeated Golden State in
seven games in the 1976 West finals and also eliminated Seattle in seven in
1993.

The Suns, who lost in five to San Antonio in last year’s conference finals,
were pushed to the limit in the first two rounds of this year’s playoffs.
They came back from a 3-1 deficit and defeated Kobe Bryant and the seventh-
seeded Lakers in seven contests during the opening round, and knocked out the
sixth-seeded Clippers in seven in the conference semifinals.

Phoenix is 3-4 on the road in this year’s postseason.

The road to the West finals has been a wild one for the Mavericks. They swept
No. 5 Memphis in the first round and then defeated the top-seeded and
defending world champion Spurs in seven games in the semis.

The Mavericks have advanced to the conference finals just two other times in
franchise history and have never been to the NBA Finals. They lost to the
Lakers in seven games in 1988 and San Antonio in six in 2003.

Dallas is 4-2 as the host in the year’s playoffs.

During the regular season, the Mavericks and Suns split four contests. Both
teams picked up a win at home and on the road.

DAL PHO