National Basketball Association
Phoenix at Dallas
When: 9:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 11, 2017
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
The Dallas Mavericks are playing their best basketball of the season as they try for their fifth straight victory Saturday against the visiting Phoenix Suns. Dallas struggled to maintain its focus with a 105-96 victory over Brooklyn on Friday to get within 1 1/2 games of Denver for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and is 26-23 after a 2-13 start seemed to derail its season before it got very far down the tracks.
Nerlens Noel, who was acquired from Philadelphia last month, did not play Friday because of left knee soreness, but Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said the injury doesn't appear to be serious. Phoenix finished its five-game homestand by losing two straight — 131-127 to red-hot Washington and 122-110 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday — after starting it with a season-high three-game winning streak that included a 109-106 victory over Boston on March 5. "It's really disappointing," Suns guard Devin Booker told reporters. "We've beaten top teams, competed with the top teams in the league. Every team's talented, but they (the Lakers) are one of the losing teams like us and we should have just come out here and competed hard." Phoenix and Dallas split the first two of four meetings this season, including the Mavericks' 113-108 victory in Mexico City on Jan. 12 with Booker recording a franchise-record 28 points in the fourth quarter, scoring the Suns' final 21 points.TV:
9 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona (Phoenix), Southwest (Dallas)ABOUT THE SUNS (21-44):
Booker averaged more points in the last two losses (24) than he did during the winning streak (16), leaving his season average at 20.8 points. Eric Bledsoe paces the club with 21.2 points and 6.4 assists per game while T.J. Warren (13.4 points, 4.5 rebounds) recorded double-doubles in his last two contests after recording one in his first 137 career games. Allen Williams (6.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 11.8 minutes) recorded double-doubles off the bench in the last five contests — a franchise record for a reserve, averaging 14.4 points and 12 rebounds during that span.ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (28-36):
Dallas endured a bit of a hangover Friday from Tuesday's 122-111 victory over the Lakers that featured Dirk Nowitzki reaching 30,000 points before rallying in the fourth quarter Friday to improve to 17-9 in its last 26 games. J.J. Barea returned to the lineup Friday after missing 20 games with a calf injury, recording nine points and three assists in 14 minutes. Yogi Ferrell scored 17 points Friday against the club he played 10 games with earlier this season before the Mavericks signed him from Brooklyn's Development League team in Long Island.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Bledsoe is one of four players averaging at least 20 points, six assists and 4.9 rebounds this season (James Harden, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook). The only Phoenix player to average those numbers for an entire campaign was Gail Goodrich (23.9, 6.4, 5.4) in the Suns' inaugural season of 1968-69.
2. Noel is averaging 10 points and 8.5 rebounds in six games with Dallas.
3. Williams' double-double streak is the longest by an NBA reserve since Miami's Hassan Whiteside recorded six straight last March.PREDICTION:
Mavericks 112, Suns 111
Stats and Records