The force was strong with Deron Williams on Sunday night.
The Mavericks starting point guard finished with 27 points and four assists as Dallas (28-22) defeated the Phoenix Suns 91-78. The Mavericks played without forward Dirk Nowitzki, who sat out the front end of a back-to-back. Dallas plays at Atlanta tomorrow night.
Despite a third quarter in which the Mavericks shot 6 of 22 from the floor, Dallas put together a late fourth quarter rally to knock of the Suns (14-35.) Led by forward Dwight Powell, the Mavericks went on a 14-2 run with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter to go up 82-75 seal the deal. Powell had six points during the run.
“We knew it was going to be a ball buster game,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “In the end, I think we just outlasted them. They weren’t quite as deep as us. We just kept hanging in and we found ways to get the ball in the basket. And I don’t know about you guys, but I had a feeling [Javale McGee] was going to hit an 18 foot shot in the fourth quarter to give us the lead.”
The play Carlisle is referring to came during Dallas’ 14-2 run. McGee set a screen for guard J.J. Barea and popped to the elbow. Much to the surprise of everyone on the court, McGee took the 18 footer, which found nothing but twine, and also put the Mavericks up by a point, a lead it would not relinquish.
“I call it practice paying off,” Carlisle said when asked what the play was called. “That’s a huge play. That’s late clock. It’s a huge play in the game. We just had a lot of guys play big.”
Dallas outscored Phoenix 23-9 in the fourth quarter due in large part to guard Wesley Matthews’ defense on Suns’ guard Devin Booker, who finished the game with 19 points and seven rebounds.
“I appreciate any win any kind of way,” Matthews said. “We hung around and continued to play hard and played together.”
The victory marks the end of a grueling month of January, in which the Mavericks played 18 games in 32 days. Dallas went 9-9 in that stretch and now sits at sixth place in the Western Conference, one game behind Memphis for fifth place.
“This month the schedule was brutal,” forward Chandler Parsons said. “But we fought hard and got through it.”
Next Up: Dallas travels to play the Atlanta Hawks on Monday Feb. 1. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
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