Folks, the Dallas Mavericks are going to the playoffs.
Behind 37 points from Monta Ellis and a sensational second-half performance from Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks rallied from a 13-point deficit to outlast the Phoenix Suns, 101-98, at American Airlines Center Saturday night, clinching a postseason berth. Markieff Morris missed what would have been the game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.
With the loss, the Suns fell a game back in the loss column of the Memphis Grizzlies for the Western Conference's No. 8 seed.
Dallas struggled mightily for a good portion of this game. Nowitzki scored only two points of 1-of-5 shooting in the first half, and the Mavericks found themselves down 57-46 at intermission. The first half of the third quarter wasn't much different, as Nowitzki still struggled to find his groove and Dallas couldn't get stops on the defensive end.
However, Ellis hit back-to-back triples to trim an 11-point deficit to five midway through the third and got the Mavericks going. Ellis would add another trey later in the period, and Dirk exploded for 14 of his 23 points during the Mavs' third-quarter run.
The young Suns would not go quietly, though, fighting tooth-and-nail with Dallas throughout the final 12 minutes.
Eric Bledsoe poured in 29 points off 11-of-15 shooting and made some big plays late, but he committed seven costly turnovers throughout the game.
Channing Frye added 21, draining five threes, four in the first period alone.
Still, careless turnovers and an inability to get stops down the stretch did the inexperienced Suns in.