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

Mavs finally reach NBA Finals with huge rally versus Suns

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – An NBA Finals filled with two first-time
participants is set, as Dirk Nowitzki brought Dallas back from an early 18-
point deficit to close out the Phoenix Suns, 102-93, in Game 6 of the Western
Conference finals at US Airways Center.

Nowitzki continued his ascent to stardom with another clutch playoff
performance, dropping in 24 points and pulling down 10 rebounds, one game
after a 50-point performance that will go down as one of the greatest
individual performances in franchise history.

Josh Howard posted 20 points and 15 rebounds and provided much more on the
defensive end of the court, collecting three steals and continuously
frustrating Shawn Marion and Tim Thomas.

Jerry Stackhouse added 19 points and Jason Terry donated 17 for Dallas, which
won its first Game 6 since June 2, 1988 at home against the Los Angeles Lakers
in the conference finals.

The Mavericks outscored Phoenix 40-27 in the deciding fourth quarter and will
now host Miami in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, beginning Thursday. Dallas won
both contests against the Heat this season.

The sun set on a short-handed Phoenix squad Saturday after a season that
bested reasonable expectations. Star forward Amare Stoudemire played in only
three games because of a right knee injury and Joe Johnson bolted for Atlanta
in the offseason.

However, Steve Nash put together another MVP season and the Suns pieced
together a team that reached the conference finals.

It ended Saturday despite 19 points and nine assists from Nash and a game-high
30 points and 11 rebounds from Boris Diaw. Leandro Barbosa added 14 points and
Marion posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but the Suns
tired down the stretch after using just seven players.

Phoenix was playing in its eighth conference finals, but hasn’t advanced to
the NBA Finals since falling to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1993.