At least the Dallas Mavericks didn’t have to moan about losing a big lead.
The only time the Mavericks led the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night was 2-0. After that, it was all Phoenix — except for a couple of brief Mavs’ rallies.
Chasing the Suns almost from the time they got off the bus, the Mavericks completely ran out of gas as Phoenix rolled to a 123-108 victory at US Airways Center.
The Mavericks have lost four of their past six games, including three straight on the road where they’re just 4-9. Dallas (15-12) concludes this short two-game road trip Monday night in Houston.
Coach Rick Carlisle’s team was coming off a disappointing 109-108 overtime loss at home to Toronto on Friday when the Mavs blew a 19-point lead. But the Mavs didn’t want to hear any talk of fatigue, especially since the Suns also spent Friday night traveling after winning at Denver.
“I thought we were OK,” Carlisle said. “I think our biggest issues aren’t fatigued. I think they had more to do with being disciplined and just staying the course with the simple aspects of our game, and we’re going to work to shore these things up.”
With so much time this past week to practice, Carlisle said they spent 80 percent of it working on defense and rebounding.
The 123 points for the Suns were the most they’ve scored all season and the most the Mavericks have allowed. Phoenix also won the rebounding battle 45-36 and shot 51.2 percent from the field in addition to converting 15 of its 30 3-point attempts.
“We got close a couple of times,” said center Brandan Wright, who collected 19 points, six rebounds and four blocks. “We never could get over the hump, and we’ve got to credit them, they played hard. They came off a back-to-back, too, so it was two teams out there fighting.”
With ex-Mavs guard Gerald Green coming off the bench for 12 points, the Suns took 38-25 lead after the first quarter when they made 7-of-10 3-pointers. The Suns’ scoring surge forced Carlisle to call three timeouts by the 5:34 mark of the first period.
“We got off to a bad start, which is never good, especially on the road,” Carlisle said. “I used three timeouts in the first quarter, which isn’t good either.”
A free throw by Monta Ellis got the Mavs within 47-44 late in the second quarter. But the Suns were off and running — and gunning — to lead 63-58 at the half.
The Mavs inched within four midway through the third period, but Phoenix bumped its lead back to nine (91-82) entering the fourth quarter.
Another free throw by Ellis (19 points) helped the Mavs come within 100-94 of the Suns with 8:31 left in the game. But Channing Frye fired in a 3-pointer and later added a jumper and another 3-pointer as the Suns’ lead swelled to 110-99 with 5:40 remaining.
Dirk Nowitzki missed his first five shots — 11 in a row dating to Friday’s game — but wound up with 21 points and six rebounds. Also for the Mavs, Vince Carter scored 14 points and Shawn Marion had 10 points and five rebounds.
Eric Bledsoe led Phoenix with 25 points, Green had 22 points and Frye finished with 18 points.
The 15-point deficit tied for the largest margin of defeat for the Mavs this season. They also dropped a 15-point game at Sacramento (112-97) back on Dec. 9.