It wasn't always pretty, but it's still a win (in the preseason where wins mean virtually nothing). The Suns starters played very well en route the the six-point victory, but the team as a whole was very up-and-down.
Phoenix got off to a quick start offensively, but unfortunately they left their defense in the locker room and Dallas kept pace for a the first several minutes. The Suns picked up the effort level and built up a 24-16 lead before Goran Dragic took a seat. That's when things took a turn for the worse.
Behind everyone's least favorite flammable shooting guard the Mavs ripped off a 15-0 run. Vince Carter scored seven points during the stretch, and the trio of Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris and Sebastian Telfair looked incompetent offensively. A Shannon Brown jumper put an end to the run and the Suns were able to make it out of the first quarter only trailing by three, 31-28.
The bench picked up their defense in the second quarter and worked their way back, taking a 43-42 lead on a pair of Markieff Morris free throws. The two teams battled back and forth with the Suns pulling ahead at 49-46. However, the Mavericks closed out the final 2:46 of the quarter on a 8-0 run to take a 54-49 lead into halftime.
Unfortunately, the Suns lost Shannon Brown for the game when he rolled his ankle on a drive with about 30 seconds left in the half. Thankfully, it's not too bad:
Update on @shannonbrown. He turned his ankle tonight in Dallas. There is no swelling and he is expected to return soon. #SunsAtMavs— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) October 18, 2012
The starting five kicked off the second half and the Suns dominated the third quarter behind the brilliant play of Goran Dragic. With Dragic and Gortat playing nearly the entire period, the Suns outscored the Mavericks 32-20 and took a 81-74 lead into the final quarter.
Gentry turned the reigns over to the second unit (plus a couple) to close out the game, and they almost blew it. The Mavs cut the deficit to as little as two points when Dallas reserve guard Josh Akognon stole the ball from Telfair and scored with just under a minute to go. However, after a chaotic sequence where the ball was lost by both sides multiple times, Diante Garret was finally able to secure the loose ball and drop it off to Ike Diogu for the game-sealing slam. A pair of Telfair free throws closed out the scoring and gave the Suns the 100-94 win.
Points - Jared Dudley was credited with 16 points on 7-9 shooting, but there's a bit of confusion as two of his baskets may have been scored by Michael Beasley (who officially finished with eight points on 4-10 shooting).
Rebounds - Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat each finished with six boards to lead a very balanced effort on the glass by Phoenix.
Assists - Goran Dragic continues his masterful play with six assists to go with his 12 points in just 18 minutes of playing time.
+/- - Dragic, Dudley and Luis Scola each finished at a +20 to lead the Suns, and that was no coincidence as all three plpayed terrific games and spent much of their court time playing together.
Bad Guys - Chris Kaman led the Mavs with 16 points, but it was Jae Crowder who acted as a thorn in the Suns' side all game long. Crowder finished with 10 points, six assists and 5 steals, and also completely shut down Markieff Morris (who put up an ugly 2-14 shooting line).
- Both Goran Dragic and Sebastian Telfair played excellent defense on Dallas' starting point guard Darren Collison. The duo held the quick little guard to zero points on 0-2 shooting, although he did finish with six assists.
- Speaking of the Dragon, that guy is incredible. The more I see of him, the more excited I get for the season to start. That third quarter domination was all on Dragic, as he played a masterful floor game, hitting shots when they were there and setting up teammates when they weren't. You guys already know this, but he;s going to be really good this year.
- The Suns did a good job on the glass today, and everyone got in the act as the 45 total rebounds were spread out pretty well an seven players finished with four or more caroms. I noticed the Suns crashing the offensive glass pretty hard early on, which is something I'm not used to seeing with this team.
- Michael Beasley didn't have quite the total game he gave us in the first two preseason games, but he still played pretty well. Early on, Beasley was playing in the flow of the game and looked great. He made some good scoring moves and also pushed the ball up the court and recorded a couple of nice assists in transition. It wasn't until the offense started struggling and he tried to step up and be the creator that he began to struggle as he forced things a little too much.
- Ike Diogu was the one out of the three auditioning bigs to get the call late in the game, and the veteran did pretty well, scoring four points and hauling in five rebounds in six minutes of playing time. He looks to be the leader in the club house for the 13th active roster spot.
- Diante Garrett, another roster hopeful, got a bit more burn today, but didn't play as well. However, he did spend more than half his minutes at the two alongside Bassy, which A) shows his versatility and size but also B) doesn't allow Garrett to show what he can do. I'm still a believer in the former Iowa State Cyclone, but he's going to have to play pretty well down the stretch if the Suns are going to keep him as the 15th man.
I'll leave you with this, as I feel it sums things up pretty well:
Great win vs Dallas Mavs!!! Next stop OKC. Let's go #Suns— Goran Dragic (@Goran_Dragic) October 18, 2012