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Terry scores 35 as Mavs win matchup of West powers

DALLAS (AP) -- Jason Terry re-emerged late for the Dallas
Mavericks, just when they needed him again.

After scoring 32 of his season-high 35 points by the midpoint of
the third quarter, Terry hit a big 3-pointer then set up Dirk
Nowitzki's 19-footer with 1.3 seconds left in a 101-99 victory over
the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.

"All respect goes to JT. He came out lights out shooting the
ball, getting us into our offense and just running the team," Josh
Howard said. "He was our general. Dirk and myself struggled, but
at key plays, he found both guys and we finished the basket for
him."

The Mavericks (22-7), with the best record in the NBA, won their
eighth straight game. The defending Western Conference champs are
22-3 since the first 0-4 start in team history.

Nowitzki's game-winner came from the right wing over Shawn
Marion.

"I heard my number called. Shawn was guarding me and I was
going to hold it a little longer, but I think he was a little
surprised that I quick-shot it," Nowitzki said. "I wasn't
shooting the ball well all night so I'm happy it went in."

With 23 seconds left, Terry also had a nifty pass to Howard for
an acrobatic layup that put the Mavs up 99-97.

The Suns had one more chance after Nowitzki's shot. But after a
timeout and the inbound pass, Amare Stoudemire's 22-foot shot
bounded off the front of the rim as time expired. That ended
Phoenix's eight-game road winning streak, one short of the team
record.

"It was about the best we could have expected in that
situation," said Stoudemire, who finished with 25 points and 13
rebounds.

Dallas and Phoenix (19-8) were a combined 2-9 -- with one victory
each -- after the Mavericks won the first meeting Nov. 9. They met
again as division leaders with the top two winning percentages in
the NBA. That initial victory by the Mavs started a 12-game winning
streak, and the Suns have since set a franchise record by winning
15 in a row.

"It was a great game, the last bucket won it," said Steve
Nash, the NBA MVP in both seasons since leaving Dallas for Phoenix.
"Dirk's a clutch player and he made a big shot. ... It was pretty
evenly matched teams. Little mistakes here and there cost us the
game."

Nash finished with 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting with 13
assists -- including the last two game-tying baskets.

An ally-oop pass from Nash led to Stoudemire's one-handed dunk
with 1:07 left that tied the game at 97. Nash's more conventional
pass to Marion led to a layup with 6.3 seconds left, and the
Mavericks called timeout to set up their final play.

"Dirk was the only option. We didn't have a plan B," coach
Avery Johnson said. "We were trying to get him the ball. Just
jokingly, we told Jason to try."

Terry had eight assists and his second 30-point game of the
season, both against the Suns. Nowitzki finished with 27 points on
8-of-20 shooting with 10 rebounds. Howard had 16 points and 12
rebounds.

Terry scored 10 in the Mavs' 15-2 run that pushed them ahead
73-60 with five minutes left in the third quarter. Dallas then fell
behind by as many as nine before Terry finally scored again --
hitting a 3-pointer with 2:09 left that put the Mavs ahead 95-94.

Phoenix scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter,
including consecutive 3-pointers by Jumaine Jones -- one from the
right corner and the other from the left wing -- to put the Suns
ahead 86-78. Before Stoudemire's breakaway slam that gave the Suns
an 80-78 lead, they hadn't led since the first quarter.

That ended a 29-8 run over a 7½-minute span. Stoudemire had nine
of the points and Leandro Barbosa seven.

Phoenix wiped out a 13-point deficit in the second quarter and
tied the game at 47 on Raja Bell's 17-footer that came after Dallas
came up empty on four straight possessions. But Terry had a steal
and two assists to Nowitzki to keep the Suns from taking the lead
after consecutive turnovers in a half-minute by Stoudemire.

Game notes
Mavericks C DeSagana Diop left with 9:37 left in the game
and didn't return after sustaining a cut over his left eye when he
was fouled by Marion. The Mavericks said Diop, who had to be helped
from the court and into the locker room, was experiencing
dizziness. He did come to the bench in the final minute... Jerry
Stackhouse missed his third straight game for Dallas because of a
sprained left ankle. He's not expected back until at least next
week.