Mavs beat Suns 140-116 in crucial West matchup

The AP reports: Jason Kidd had 19 points, a season-high 20 assists and a major career milestone— all in just three quarters—sending Dallas to a 140-116 victory over Phoenix on Sunday, virtually assuring the Mavericks of grabbing no worse than the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Dallas owns a four-game lead with five games left. Because the Mavs won the season series, they hold the tiebreaker over the Suns, so Phoenix must finish 5-0 and Dallas 0-5 for the teams to trade places in the standings… The 81 points at halftime was easily the most of the season for the Mavericks, and it included a 24-3 burst after Phoenix got within 46-45… Dirk Nowitzki made 10 of 12 shots and scored 28 points for Dallas, marking his 20th straight game with at least 20 points. Howard had 24 points after missing the Memphis game with a flare-up of his pesky ankle problem. Having two days off before facing the Jazz should help him remain in the lineup. Jason Terry hit his first four 3-point tries and scored 18 points. Brandon Bass added 14 points and J.J. Barea had 12. notes: The Mavs shot 60 percent for the game, as well as 60 percent (15-of-25) from three-point range, and nailed 23-of-25 free throws. Dallas dished 34 assists, the Suns 21.

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