At the end of the first quarter Suns point guard Isaiah Canaan drove to the basket and was fouled by Wesley Matthews. Canaan came down awkwardly on his left leg. It was ugly, which could also describe the display that the Mavs put on the floor after seeing the injury. Canaan fractured his left ankle in a way that drew similarities to Gordon Hayward’s horrific injury at the beginning of the season. His foot was pointing in the opposite direction and both teams were horrified by what they had seen. The Suns recovered. The Mavs did not.
By the time Canaan was carted off the floor and the first quarter ended, the Mavs were trailing by 19 points, 17-36. Dallas never lead in the first quarter and they would never lead in this game. The Mavs came out and looked tired, maybe due to the late start time of the game (9:30 pm central time). In the first quarter they shot 7 for 24, good for 30% from the field. Most of their shots looked flat and either hit the front of the rim or rimmed out. It is hard to win games that way, especially if you allow the deficit to grow to 19 to a Suns team that is 18-34 and was also on a 4 game losing streak.
In the second quarter Dallas managed to push the score to within eight points with seven minutes to go off of a Dirk Nowitzki three pointer that Wesley Matthews assisted. The 3 pointer put Dirk at 12 points and 7 rebounds going into halftime. The Suns would answer despite Dirk doing everything he could to keep the Mavs in it, going on a 5-0 run and then finishing out the quarter with an 11 point lead, 46-57.
Dallas let the deficit grow to 20 points at the end of the third quarter. The narrative of the game continued through out the quarter – tons of good looks, very little makes. Just as they have done during this now 5 game losing streak, Dallas decided to wake up in the fourth quarter to make it interesting. With 6:08 to go in the fourth, Dennis Smith Jr. checked in for Devin Harris with the Mavs trailing 72-86. He provided a spark in the final minutes that we have seen over and over again. In three minutes DSJ had 5 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound, and 1 steal to bring the game to within 7 points, 84-91. Despite his valiant effort to claw the Mavs back into the game, it wasn’t enough. Phoenix used an 11-4 run to close out the game and left the Mavs with their 5th straight loss. Dallas has now lost eight of their last nine games.
Dennis Smith Jr. finished the game as the Mavs leading scorer with 17 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, and only 2 turnovers while shooting 6 for 15 from the field. Harrison Barnes was second and just missed a double double with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Barnes and DSJ had the worst +/- on the team, tied for -19. The only person with a positive +/- was Devin Harris with +5. Dirk Nowitzki scored 14 points on 5 for 8 shooting to go with 10 rebounds. He notched the double double in under 21 minutes, the fastest he has ever posted a double double in his career. Wesley Matthews scorching hot streak came to a chilling end. He finished with 6 points on 2 for 17 shooting from the field, missing all nine of his three point attempts. The only silver lining in his line was that he brought the defense, finishing with 5 steals and a block.
Dallas (16-36) will hang out in Phoenix for a couple days before heading off to Sacramento (16-34) to take on the Kings on February 3rd. It will be another late game starting at 9:00 pm central time on Fox Sports Southwest.
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