3/14/2007 - Suns and Mavs play 2OT thriller
There was a lot of hype when the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks met in March of 2007. No two teams as good (record-wise) had played each other 60 games into the season in 37 years. Plus, the Suns and Mavs had faced each other in the postseason the previous two years, and it was a face-off between Steve Nash and ex-teammate Dirk Nowitzki -- the reigning MVP and player who would win it from him.
What followed was easily one of the greatest regular season games of all time. It shouldn't have come as a surprise; the two teams had combined for five separate ten-game winning streaks, and were two of the most exciting teams in the league to watch. Dallas was coming off a blowout in Golden State, where their 17-game winning streak was snapped (a prelude of things to come), while the Suns looked to gain ground in the conference standings.
In a game that the Suns led by 16 and the Mavericks led by 17, the game managed to equal itself out in regulation. The game went to two overtimes before the Suns finally clinched it, with a phenomenal 129-127 win. The Mavericks had a seven point lead and the ball with 1:14 left in the 4th quarter, but Steve Nash rose to the occasion, scoring ten points in less than sixty seconds, including the game-tying three-pointer, to knot it up at 111. Nash entered the final period with a mediocre 14 points and 9 assists, but the like great player he was, he finished with 32 points, 16 assists and 8 rebounds. Nowitzki had a great game as well, but he left the door open by missing two enormous free throws during that minute.
Amare Stoudemire was sensational, scoring a game-high 41 points while being more or less unstoppable down low (16-19 shooting). Of Dallas' 127 points, 109 of them came from Nowitzki, Josh Howard, Jerry Stackhouse, and Jason Terry -- who hit a game-tying three to send the game to double overtime. Dallas' Erick Dampier became just the third player to ever record double-digit rebounds without a single one coming on the defensive end. The Suns were essentially a two-man show down the stretch, with Nash and Stoudemire scoring 28 straight points at one point.
In the end, Dallas still finished with the best record in the NBA while Nowitzki, and not Nash, would win the MVP.