The Phoenix Suns played a good half of basketball, then went completely in the tank for about a quarter and a half, then played a tight game down the stretch like nearly every other game this season.
Archie Goodwin and Markieff Morris made clutch baskets to help the Suns overcome a late six point deficit to beat the Dallas Mavericks, 98-92.
Here's Archie's big shot, thanks to BSotS user iah725
After going up by 17 points (69-52) with 8 minutes left in the third quarter, the Mavericks got some turmovers and began to score at will while the Suns placed a lid on their own basket. Soon, the Mavericks had a 86-80 lead - a 34-11 run - with just 5 minutes left.
Then Eric Bledsoe returned and the Suns scored 5 quick points to pull back within one.
On the next possession, Archie Goodwin scored on a drive to put the Suns back on top briefly.
AND THEN ARCHIE HIT THE THREE POINTER TO GIVE THE SUNS THE 91-88 LEAD WITH 2 MINUTES LEFT!
Markieff Morris had a HUGE offensive rebound with 1:19 left to get a foul/free throw to give the Suns a two possession lead.
Then it got crazy. The Suns had a steal, but Tucker "traveled" after getting fouled. Then the Suns "fouled" Tyson Chandler on a missed dunk. A real bad series of calls kept it a 3-point game with 51.9 left.
And then MARKLUTCH MORRIS made a step-back jumper over Tyson Chandler to stretch the Suns lead to FIVE!
After that it was garbage time, with a final score of 98-92.
P.J. Tucker started the game on fire from behind the arc, making his first three three-pointers - two of them on broken plays. The Suns got up 11-5 thanks to Tucker and some nice inside passing, as well as solid defense on the other end.
The Suns made their first four three pointers overall and looked exactly like the team Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said he was going to get: "a high energy, smash mouth team."
Marcus Morris was a man possessed, putting up 5 points, dishing 5 assists and grabbing 3 rebounds in the first quarter before being nearly beheaded on a fast break (no foul was called).
The Mavericks made a game of it late in the first when Aminu and Amare Stoudemire were active on the offensive glass and got the Mavericks some points the Suns could have stopped with rebounds.
The Suns led 33-27 after one.
This is the part where folks outside Dallas are reminded that Richard Jefferson and Amare Stoudemire are not only still in the NBA, but they can be effective when you don't pay attention to them.
By early in the second quarter, Amare had 10 points and 2 rebounds while Jefferson had 8 points on 8-of-11 shooting between them. Okay then.
But the Suns kept the lead thanks to good minutes from T.J. Warren (6 points, 1 rebound) and Archie Goodwin (2 assists). A.J. Price even made his first shot on the Suns home court. It helped that the Morris brothers subbed back in to settle the other guys down.
Dallas really wasn't having a good game here. Monta Ellis missed a layup or two, as did Chandler Parsons. Sure the Suns contested the shots, but those layups are almost always made.
Monta Ellis was 0-6 through the first 23:58 of the game until sinking a buzzer beater at the half.
Suns up 57-42.
Six different players have 6+ points at halftime, led by P.J. Tucker with 15.
The Morris brothers combined for 17 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals in the first half, in 38 combined minutes. Guess they're mad Kansas out of the NCAA tourney.
Coach Rick Carlisle must have fired up the guys at halftime, as the Mavs came out playing about twice the speed they'd played in the first half and got 4 quick points, forcing Hornacek to call a timeout to re-focus his guys.
The Suns scored on 5 of their next 6 possessions with solid passing, and the lead got up to 17 before Dallas called a timeout.
Then the Mavericks went on a 14-0 run as the Suns lost their momentum and got sloppy with turnovers inside, leading to fast breaks by the Mavericks. Credit to the Mavs for hustling and scoring when they had the chance.
P.J. Tucker missed a couple of free throws in the middle there, but the Suns really had no offense going at all for a while there as Bledsoe got some rest.
The Suns had trouble stopping the Mavs when Bledsoe came back in, but at least they started scoring again to stem the tide.
By the end of the quarter, it was a 1 point game. Monta Ellis, Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons combined for 24 of the Mavs 33 points, after having only 13 combined in the first half.
Suns up only 76-75.
Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton and Richard Jefferson scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter (of course) and the Mavericks had a 6-point lead before we knew it.
The Suns could not hit anything. At all. After the Suns had a 69-52 lead, the Mavericks went on a 30-7 scoring run that really didn't look as bad as it was.
I take that back. It was bad.
The Suns just turned off the jets as the Mavs seized their opportunity, and then the Suns tightened up and couldn't make a shot.
Until they DID make shots.
And it was glorious.
Suns by 6.