DALLAS -- Shawn Marion made Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle sound like a prophet.
Two days after Carlisle described him as his best player, Marion poured in a season-high 29 points to pace the Mavs to a 93-87 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Marion converted 11 of 21 shots, including back-to-back 3-point baskets that gave the Mavs a 70-55 lead with 4:41 remaining in the third quarter.
"Shawn was great tonight," Carlisle said. "A lot of the plays he made were ones that were very kindly -- late clock.
"The 3s that he hit in the third quarter were huge. Every night we're going to need somebody to step up big, and tonight he was the big star."
Marion made 4 of 6 baskets from beyond the 3-point arc. Yet he normally doesn't hoist up shots from that area.
"He has the green light to shoot 3s any night," Carlisle said. "The first year we discouraged it and that was the wrong thing to do."
Marion said that with Dirk Nowitzki (knee) and Vince Carter (foot) out with injuries, someone has to step up and lead the charge.
"My teammates are looking for me," Marion said. "I've been able to do a lot of different things on the floor.
"This is about just helping my teammates."
In addition to Marion, the Mavs (11-7) got some heavy lifting from centers Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi.
Haywood finished with 10 points and six rebounds, and Mahinmi added 17 points, nine boards and three blocks.
"The activity of our big guys was really good tonight," Carlisle said. "We get 27 points out of our two centers, and that's a huge lift."
The Mavs only led 49-46 at halftime, and were nursing an 84-74 lead with 7:07 remaining in the game when Sebastian Telfair was whistled for a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected from the game after a hard foul on Rodrigue Beaubois while the Mavericks guard was flying in for a layup.
Beaubois buried the two free throws. And after the Mavs maintained possession, Lamar Odom scored to put Dallas ahead, 88-74.
"I just thought that if it's a foul in the NFL, then it probably should ... no, I'm not saying that," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "I'm not giving them my money.
"They called it and that's the way it is. That's the way it is, so we have to live by what they call."
The Mavs' defense took over, recording a franchise-record 15th straight game in which Dallas has held an opponent under 100 points.
Dallas also forced the Suns into 19 turnovers and 37.3 percent shooting from the floor.
"The end result numbers look good, and to hold them under 90 looks good," Carlisle said. "But we still have areas to clean up.
"We're still making too many mistakes. We go through periods where our energy and our alertness aren't where they need to be, so that's my job to stay after our guys and make sure that we keep working to get things in the right direction."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760