Wednesday , May , 31 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

National Basketball Association Game Capsules

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Leandro Barbosa poured in 24 points to lead a
balanced Phoenix attack and Raja Bell had a solid defensive effort in his
return, as the Suns shut down Dirk Nowitzki to pound Dallas, 106-86, to even
the Western Conference finals after four games. Steve Nash had 21 points
and seven assists and Boris Diaw contributed 20 points and nine rebounds,
but it was the energetic return of Bell that set the tone for the Suns.
Nowitzki, who came into the game averaging 28.4 points in the playoffs, was
limited to a season-low 11 on 3-of-13 shooting. Bell had missed the last two
games of the series with a left calf injury, and even though he had only nine
points, it was his defensive prowess that helped carry the Suns. Shawn Marion
ended with 15 points and eight boards for Phoenix, which used a huge second
half run to pull away. The Suns shot 54.4 percent from the field, including a
10-for-13 effort from Barbosa. Dallas’ Josh Howard scored 16 points, but
tweaked his left ankle in the fourth quarter. Jason Terry and Adrian
Griffin each added 13 points for the Mavericks, who suffered a setback
in their quest to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise
history. Dallas held the Suns to 88 points in a Game 3 victory Sunday night in
Phoenix, but the Mavericks didn’t have an answer for the solid defense of
Bell and the up-tempo style. Game 5 will be played in Dallas on Thursday.