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Suns topple Mavericks to win final home game of season

Suns topple Mavericks to win final home game of season
Published On: Sun, Apr 09
Apr 10, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) and center Brandan Wright (34) argue the out of bounds call by referee Brian Forte (45) during the second half against the Phoenix Suns at the American Airlines Center. The Suns defeated the Mavericks 102-91. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX -- For the Phoenix Suns, the wins are meaningless but the experience is invaluable.

T.J. Warren and Devin Booker scored 21 points each and the Suns closed out the home portion of their schedule with a 124-111 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.

Warren made all eight of his shots from the floor and added seven rebounds in 29 minutes.

Tyler Ulis added 20 points and 10 assists, Derrick Jones Jr. scored 15 points and Alex Len had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns (24-57), who have back-to-back wins after a franchise record-tying 13-game losing streak.

Phoenix hadn't won two straight since winning three in a row from March 2 to March 5.

"It feels good finishing out with a (home) win after a long season," Booker said. "I feel like that leaves a lasting impression on the home fans. We are building."

The Suns end their season in Sacramento against the Kings on Tuesday, but their young lineup featuring Booker, Warren, Marquese Chriss, Ulis, Len, Jones, Dragan Bender and Alan Williams have an important summer ahead.

"I'm proud of the way our guys have finished and that they fight every time," Phoenix coach Earl Watson said. "We have one more game, but I'm ready to get started on our offseason moves, getting people ready and getting back in the gym with these guys and to help them grow.

"They had their young guys in the second against our young guys. We had our young guys (playing) much of the season and you get a chance to see how much further along our young guys are."

Yogi Ferrell and Dwight Powell each scored 21 points for Dallas (32-48), which has lost four straight. Jarrod Uthoff had 12 points and Dirk Nowitzki and Nicolas Brussino scored 11 each for the Mavericks, who started the season 3-15 and stuck with their veterans but were never able to get going.

"We went for it, we went for the playoffs but we had a lot of injury problems with our veterans and that put us behind the eight-ball early," said Nowitzki, who will return for his 20th season in 2017-18. "Once that train is gone it's time for the younger guys to get some experience. We've seen some good halves, some good quarters ... but the hardest thing to learn in this league is consistency, to bring it every night.

"It's been fun watching these guys work hard. They want to learn, but we still got a long way to go with some of them."

Booker feels the same way about the Suns and intends to set the tone personally.

"We have to take this summer seriously. We need to get in the gym and build chemistry," Booker said. "We have a small sample size. Our rookies haven't had a summer under their belt and the summertime is when you separate yourself. If you are dedicated to your craft, and I'm sure these guys are going to be, we create a chemistry that can last a long time."

The Suns shot 55 percent and were on target from the opening tip, making 13 of 20 in a 40-point first quarter.

Warren led the way, making all five of his shots from the floor and his 3-pointer with one second left gave the Suns their biggest lead (40-29) at the end of the quarter.

Chriss had nine early points for Phoenix, which shot 65 percent from the field and had assists on eight of 13 baskets in the first quarter.

Down 48-34 with 10 minutes left in the half, the Mavericks answered with a 22-7 run and regained the lead at 56-55 on a Nowitzki 12-foot jumper with 4:55 left. Nowitzki had 11 points in the first half to lead Dallas.

The Suns regained the lead with eight straight points and Booker had 11 of his 17 points in the final 4:41 of the half. His two free throws with 4.4 seconds left gave Phoenix a 68-65 lead at the half.

Phoenix pulled away with a 14-1 run midway through the third quarter, with a jumper from Bender pushing the lead to 96-79 with 3:25 to go. Two Ulis free throws with 1.7 seconds left gave the Suns 104 points, their most after three quarters all season, and a 104-85 lead.

NOTES: Dallas F Harrison Barnes missed his first game of the season, sitting out to rest. ... Dallas F Dirk Nowitzki scored 11 points on Sunday to give him 1,443 career points against the Suns, passing Hakeem Olajuwon (1,438) for the fifth-most points by a Suns opponent. The top four are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2,558), Karl Malone (1,933), Kobe Bryant (1,664) and Elvin Hayes (1,527). ... Suns G Devin Booker has 2,764 points, passing Bryant (2,755) for the most points scored before turning 21 years old in NBA history. Booker trails only LeBron James (4,649), Kevin Durant (3,495) and Carmelo Anthony (3,283). ... Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said G Seth Curry (left shoulder) is likely done for the year. "He's not too serious at this point, but there's no point in him trying to play."

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