The Phoenix Suns used a dramatic fourth-quarter rally to steal a win on the road Saturday, while the Dallas Mavericks were coughing up a late lead. Both teams will look for a complete 48-minute effort when they meet Monday in Dallas.
Phoenix trailed by as many as 15 points before surging for a 108-106 win at Minnesota on Saturday, utilizing three free throws from new addition Isaiah Canaan in the closing seconds. “Playoff experience really helps in moments like those just to be able to calm down and just know that it’s a regular free throw, regular part of the game” Canaan - who signed with the Suns on Wednesday - told reporters. “When I got fouled, I knew I was going to make them. Stepped up to the line and made them.” While Phoenix was finishing strong, the Mavericks choked away an 11-point lead in the final four-plus minutes of a 98-96 loss at San Antonio. The setback concluded a seven-game stretch against winning teams, during which Dallas went 2-5.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona (Phoenix), FSN Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE SUNS (10-21): Canaan had 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds in his debut with Phoenix and led an outstanding effort by the team’s bench. While the Suns’ starters combined for 39 points on 11-of-37 shooting, six reserves had 69 points on 22-of-35, with Troy Daniels and Dragan Bender going for 17 points apiece. Center Alex Len added 12 points, a career-high 19 rebounds and a season-high six assists behind starter Tyson Chandler, who returned from a one-game layoff for personal reasons.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (8-22): The bright spot in the loss at San Antonio was the play of forward Maximilian Kleber, who made 9-of-10 shots en route to a personal-best 21 points. Fellow rookie Dennis Smith Jr. (hip) missed his fifth straight game and Dallas simply fell apart late in its fifth road game in an 11-day span. “We did everything right to lose,” forward Dirk Nowitzki told the media. “We missed shots offensively, bad turnover, gave them some offensive rebounds. Letting (Manu) Ginobili go left down the stretch to lay it in. We literally had to do everything perfect to lose this one and we did.”
1. Daniels is averaging 24.5 points on 16-of-24 shooting - including 11-of-16 - over the last two games.
2. Nowitzki has played 1,424 career games, tied with Kevin Willis for sixth on the all-time list.
3. Phoenix took three of four meetings last season with Dallas picking up its only win in a matchup in Mexico City.
PREDICTION: Mavericks 108, Suns 104