At least the Phoenix Suns were straightforward with their fans on Sunday evening: there would be no fight or competition whatsoever in this loss. The team fell behind the Dallas Mavericks by as 21 points in the first quarter and never made a game of it, eventually losing by 25.
Suns coach Alvin Gentry sensed this would be a night of futility and limited his starters' minutes accordingly so the team could get another extended look at Aaron Brooks and Josh Childress, both of who were pretty disappointing in nearly 30 minutes of playing time apiece. Brooks finished with nine points and only four assists, to three turnovers. Childress had eight points and one rebound.
About the only positive to be found was the continued strong play of Marcin Gortat, who seems bound to entirely replace the struggling Robin Lopez next season. Lopez had nothing but a personal foul in five minutes, while Gortat led the team in scoring with 15 and grabbed nine rebounds.
Phoenix seemed to have no interest in playing defense, and the Mavs took full advantage, with five scorers in double figures, including Peja Stojakovic, Jason Terry, and Jose Juan Barea, who all came off the bench to notch 17, 17, and 15 points, respectively.
Dallas' win keeps them in the race for the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs, while Phoenix's loss guarantees they will finish below .500 for the first time since 2003-04, before Steve Nash arrived to change NBA basketball in the desert.