For the third (and final) time this season, the Phoenix Suns (7-13) took the court with the Dallas Mavericks (14-9) and emerged on the wrong side of a blow out. It's the eighth-straight Suns loss to the Mavs in what was once one of the premiere rivalries in the game. While the Mavericks have managed to restock their cupboards, win an NBA championship, and are very much in the hunt this year, the Suns have become....not so much a good basketball team.
Without Steve Nash (thigh bruise), the Suns defense was horrible. That might not sound like it makes sense given everything you know about Steve Nash and the game of basketball, but there's no denying that with Nash on the bench in a fashionable suit, the Suns couldn't get a stop to save their lives.
Dallas finished the game shooting 55 percent from the field and used a 7-for-8 three-point shooting barrage in the second quarter to blow the game open.
The Suns rotations were slow off double teams on Dirk Nowitzki who was basically held in check with just 10 points.
"Obviously, we ran into a team that shot the heck out of the ball and they caught us in rotation with Dirk, we were always trying to help Grant (Hill). Their shooters shot that ball extremely well tonight," Gentry said
The main damage was done by two former Suns players, Vince Carter (21 points, 5-7 from three) and Shawn Marion (20 points, 5 rebounds). Delonte West had 25 points including 5-6 from three with three of those threes coming in the second quarter.
Shawn admitted that he still feels "weird" coming back to Phoenix with another team, "It's weird feeling. You play in a city for (such) a long time, it's definitely a part of you that's still there, you know."
Marcin Gortat led the Suns with 17 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. Josh Childress had a surprisingly effective evening, with nine points in the first half on some fairly interesting isolation drives that play to his strengths.
The Suns will lick their wounds and hit the road for a road trip to New Orleans to face the team with the worst record in the West with just four wins, one against Phoenix. The Suns return to US Airways Center on Saturday to take on the only team in the NBA with a record worse than the Hornets, the Charlotte Bobcats.
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol put a knee into Nash's left thigh while setting a screen on the final play of Saturday night's 86-84 Suns' victory over Memphis.
This bruise comes on the heels of another quadriceps bruise earlier this season.
Nash is currently playing the fewest minutes per game (31.5) in 12 NBA seasons. He is averaging 14.3 points and a league-best 9.9 assists per game and he scored 21 in that game against Memphis before coming out.
By not playing, he'll miss the chance to face-off against Mark Cuban and his former team. He'll also have to wait a little longer to to break Kevin Johnson's career franchise assists record. Nash needs seven assists to break the record.
"I'll see how it goes tonight," Nash said. "Just try to give it another seven or eight hours of rest and see if it's ready to go."
Nash spoke on what he's been able to do in order to heal since the injury occurred.
"I haven't been able to run. But I did a little bit of shooting and a lot of exercises to try to get some mobility and flexibility in there. We'll see if it loosens up tonight."
It doesn't take a basketball guru to know the Suns aren't the same team without Nash on the floor. And as a basketball fan, seeing Nash play against the Mavericks is always fun to watch. We'll see if he can suit up.