Saturday , Jun , 03 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Mavs attempt to eliminate Suns

(Sports Network) – The Dallas Mavericks can advance to the NBA Finals for
the first time in franchise history with a win tonight, as they visit the
Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center for Game 6 of the Western Conference finals.

Dallas leads this best-of-seven series 3-2. If Phoenix wins tonight, Game 7 is
scheduled for Monday at American Airlines Center. The winner of this series
will meet the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

The Mavericks took a 3-2 lead in the series on Thursday at home.All-Star Dirk
Nowitzki put together a playoff performance to remember, pouring in a playoff
career-high 50 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to push No. 4 Dallas within one
win of the NBA finals with a 117-101 victory over the second-seeded Suns in
Game 5 of the conference finals at American Airlines Center.

Nowitzki finished 14-of-26 overall from the floor, including 5-of-6 from
beyond the arc and also made 17-of-18 from the charity stripe. Josh Howard
contributed 23 points and Jerry Stackhouse netted 16 off the bench in Game 5’s
victory for the Mavericks.

Tim Thomas led Phoenix with 26 points while Shawn Marion and Steve Nash both
contributed 20 points in the loss for the Suns. Nash dished out 11 assists to
just three turnovers and Marion pulled down 10 rebounds.

Phoenix, which is 7-3 as the host in this year’s playoffs, is 3-3 in its
last six Game 6s in the playoffs, while Dallas, which is 5-3 on the road in
this year’s postseason, has lost six straight Game 6s.

The last time the Mavericks won a sixth game of a playoff series was on June
2, 1988 at home against the Lakers in the conference finals.

Dallas has won four of their last seven games when they have had the chance to
eliminate their opponent from the postseason.

Phoenix has won four straight games when it is facing elimination from the
postseason.

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.

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.

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, 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.

DAL PHO