Phoenix-Dallas: Short-Handed Suns Beat Mavericks, 109-97

Jeremy MasonCorrespondent IFebruary 15, 2008

Last night a short-handed Phoenix team took on a good Mavericks squad and pulled out the big W. Granted, the Mavericks weren't at full strength themselves, but then again, who is this time of year?

With the win, the Suns improve their record to 3-2 since the Marion trade, and reclaim a technical share of the Western Conference lead, just percentage points behind New Orleans.

Even with this win, Phoenix is only 16-14 in the West, compared to their 21-2 mark against the East. The Suns needed to prove they could play a western contender and get the win. Last night they did just that.

The game was close throughout, but a late 11-2 Phoenix run gave the Suns their biggest lead of the game and proved to be enough to get the edge.

Nash had 24 and 13, Stoudemire and Barbosa each had 26 of their own, and Boris Diaw added 19 more to give the Suns the 109-97 win over Dallas, despite Nowitzki and Terry combining for 65 points.

This was a good win for a Phoenix team playing two players short of a full roster. The All-Star break should give them the time they need to get 14-time All-Star Shaquille O'Neal into game shape.

He is scheduled to make his debut in front of a home crowd when the Suns take on the LA Lakers next Wednesday in their first game back after the break.