PHOENIX (AP) - Fans were guaranteed a good time or their money back at the Phoenix Suns' game against Dallas.
They were not guaranteed a victory, and they didn't get one - just another failed Phoenix comeback.
A tough, fall-away 21-footer by O.J. Mayo proved to be the difference as the Mavericks handed the Suns their fifth loss in a row, 97-94 on Thursday night.
It was a nice bounce-back for a Dallas team beaten by 22 by the Clippers in Los Angeles 24 hours earlier, the Mavericks' fourth loss in five games.
``After playing a game last night we could have made a lot of excuses for ourselves as far as we had a tough game last night and didn't play well, but we flushed it and we came today with a lot of energy,' Mayo said.
Mayo scored 23 points, including that go-ahead jumper with 35 seconds to go. Brandan Wright and Darren Collison scored 16 apiece for Dallas. Wright's total was a season high. Chris Kaman added 15 points.
``We played one of our strongest-willed games,' Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ``Difficult situation, losing time coming off the back-to-back and a rough one last night. Everybody played with a lot of heart, a lot of guts. It was really a war of attrition out there with the injuries and all the stuff going on. Everybody hung in and we found a way and it's a huge win for us.'
Markieff Morris had 15 points and a career-best 17 rebounds for the Suns, who rallied from 15 down in the third quarter to tie it in the final minute.
Kaman (sprained ankle) and Shawn Marion (strained right groin) left the game with injuries for Dallas, as did P.J. Tucker (sprained knee) and Jermaine O'Neal (eye) for Phoenix.
The game was played on ``money-back guarantee night,' when those who bought a ticket could get their money back if they didn't have a good time. The Suns said it was the first promotion of its kind in the NBA.
It was the first game back for Phoenix after a 1-5 road trip that included a strong game at Memphis, where the Suns led by 16 before losing in overtime. One of those losses was a 40-point blowout in Detroit. The others all went down to the wire.
``It's always the same story,' the Suns' Goran Dragic said. ``We came up short. ... When you're down so many points and you're battling, your energy is going away because you're trying to get back in the game.'
Morris' 3-pointer cut Dallas' lead to 87-85 with a minute to go, then Shannon Brown stole Collison's pass and was fouled. Brown made two free throws with 48.5 seconds left to tie it at 87.
But with Sebastian Telfair guarding him closely, Mayo knocked down the tough shot to put the Mavericks back ahead for good.
Dragic, who scored 15 points but shot only 5 of 14, missed an open driving layup that would have tied it.
``He (Mayo) made that tough shot and we missed an easy layup,' Dragic said, ``and there goes the game.'
Dallas sealed it with eight free throws in the final 19.3 seconds - four by Collison and four by Vince Carter.
Trailing 44-40 at halftime, the Mavericks ran past Phoenix 23-4 to start the third quarter, opening a 63-48 lead with 3:50 to go in the period. Mayo sank his third 3-pointer of the night - in four tries - and Wright, who had not played in three of the previous four games, made consecutive baskets, on a dunk and a layup, to cap the outburst.
Phoenix missed 13 of its first 14 shots in the quarter and went 7 minutes without a field goal.
Dragic and Tucker hit 3s to bring the Suns out of their funk enough to cut the lead to 69-62 after three.
Jared Dudley opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, then Telfair's layup cut it to 71-67. Consecutive baskets by Wright boosted the lead to 81-71 with 5:40 to play.
NOTES: Fans with single-game tickets who decide they didn't have a good time can fill out a form to get a rebate. ... Telfair was back after missing one game following the death of his father. ... Morris had nine rebounds in 9 minutes during the first quarter. ... Phoenix is 5-4 at home, Dallas 3-7 on the road. ... The last road win for both teams had been at Cleveland. ... Morris' previous career best was 11 rebounds against Dallas in his rookie season a year ago. ... The Suns' Michael Beasley was 3-of-12 shooting for nine points and didn't play in the fourth quarter.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved