The Phoenix Suns started the game looking very much like a team playing the second of a back-to-back against the defending NBA Champions. For the first half of the Thursday's game against the Dallas Mavericks, that's exactly what it was. But in the third quarter the Suns turned up the jets and dropped 34 points to get right back into the game.
Hakim Warrick, who last played over ten minutes in game on February 1, was the surprise spark off the bench. Warrick gave the Suns a ton of hustle and infectious energy that ignited the team and the home crowd. He finished with nine points in 17 minutes but that doesn't tell the full story of the impact he had on the game.
"I just tried to come in and be a game changer. You always have to be ready no matter what when your number is called. I was able to go in and get to the line and get some easy buckets," Warrick said.
Things did get very interesting in the final minutes.
The bench unit was able to push the lead to nine in the fourth quarter before Steve Nash came back in with 4:34 to go.
Jason Kidd hit a three with under two minutes to make it a six point game as the Suns offense struggled to find an open look. Dirk Nowitzki hit one of his classic shots to cut to four. After an offensive foul on Marcin Gortat, the Mavs got the ball and cut it to two with a move in the post.
That left us with a two-point game and 15 seconds to play and in the NBA that means the free throw game. Grant Hill missed both to open the door for Dallas but the Mavs Rodrique Beaubois missed one shot and then with 2.5 seconds missed a second to preserve the win for Phoenix.
Jared Dudley led the Suns with 18 points. Steve Nash had 11 points and 11 assists.
Vince Carter was on first in the first half and finished with 18 points but only had five in the second half. Lamar Odom had what could be a breakout game with 15 of his own.