Blistering third quarter leads Suns past MavericksJan 10, 2009 - 7:29 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- An injury to Josh Howard deflated the Dallas Mavericks, and the Phoenix Suns wasted no time dealing the final blow.
Shaquille O'Neal had 25 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Suns to a 128-100 drubbing of the Mavericks on Friday.
Jason Richardson poured in 21 points and Leandro Barbosa added 20 off the bench for Phoenix, which sealed its fourth win in five games with a near-flawless third quarter.
"This gives us confidence that we are a pretty good team when we play together and do everything we are suppose to do and follow the gameplan," Richardson said.
"We came out in the third quarter and wanted to put them away. ... We posted them up then. They put little guys on me, and we took advantage of that. We also took advantage of Shaq down low."
After trailing, 64-58, entering the locker rooms, Dallas narrowed the deficit to three points when Antoine Wright drained a 3-pointer on the first possession of the third.
The Mavericks lost Howard 1:54 later when he sprained his left wrist after falling to floor while battling Amare Stoudemire underneath the basket for a rebound on a missed jumper by Dirk Nowitzki.
"When they lose a guy of Howard's stature, that is going to change things," Suns coach Terry Porter said. "They have one less weapon."
Without Howard, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the first quarter, the Suns hit 17-of-22 shots from the field, outscoring Dallas, 40-19, in the period to turn a six-point halftime advantage into a 104-77 bulge.
"We got some turnovers got into the open court and got some easy baskets," Porter said. "That opens everything up. We had good transition offense and guys were running down the floor getting dunks."
Nowitzki, who entered the contest fifth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 25.7 points per game, was limited to only 19 points on 5-of-12 shooting while pulling down seven rebounds.
The 2006-07 NBA MVP, Nowitzki was held below 20 points for the second straight contest as the Mavericks lost for only the second time in their last seven games.
"(It was) a good old fashioned butt-whooping," said Mavericks guard Jason Terry, who scored 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting off the bench.
"We have to take this one on the chin and not forget about it. They did an outstanding job of outhustling us, outworking us all night long. It was one of those game that we couldn't stop the bleeding."
With the loss, Dallas dropped to 2-8 this season when Nowitzki fails to record at least 20 points.
The Mavericks struggled to contain the Suns on defense as Phoenix finished shooting 63 percent (52-of-83) from the field.
"If you give up 63 percent from the field, you are never going to win anywhere but certainly not on the road in the West," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.
The Suns also dominated in the paint, outrebounding Dallas, 43-32, and making 18-of-26 shots from the lane in the first half.
"It really started in the first half with all the loose balls and all the tipped balls. They beat us to everything," Nowitzki said. "In the third quarter, they blew it wide open but everything started in the first half.
"They got offense rebounds, kick outs; all the balls that were free to get we didn't come up with. In a big game, you have to come up with some of them."
PHOENIX 128 FINAL
Jan 10 12:50 AM
PHOENIX 104 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 10 12:26 AM
PHOENIX 64 HALFTIME
Jan 9 11:34 PM
PHOENIX 29 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 9 11:01 PM
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