Mavericks Vs. Suns: Defense Reigns As Dallas Beats Phoenix

Those old Dallas Mavericks-Phoenix Suns showdown never used to end in 91-83 scores, as did the teams' meet-up on Sunday. The Mavericks won despite shooting 38 percent; the usually high-octane Suns shot 42 percent, but hit just one of 16 three-pointers. No one scored more than 20 points, and the two fellows who hit that mark -- Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley -- aren't exactly NBA All-Stars. (Yet.)

Gortat deserves any accolade you can toss his way right now. The Polish Hammer broke his head on Friday, had it reset manually, and played without a mask on Sunday ... and was the best performer on the court. Gortat's 20 came on 8-13 against an excellent defender in Tyson Chandler; his 15 rebounds and three blocks were also superlative.

The loss almost kills Phoenix's playoff hopes (which were dying anyways). Vince Carter came off the bench for the first time this season; the Mavericks are sticking with their own veteran guard, Jason Kidd, in the starting lineup despite recent struggles. He rewarded Rick Carlisle by hitting two big three-pointers in the final minute and change to clinch the win.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 15 on 6-19 shooting as Grant Hill (!) defended him well.

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