Mavericks-Suns Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 06, 2012
The Phoenix Suns are so confident in what team president Jason Rowley calls their "exciting brand of basketball" that the team is offering fans their money back - regardless of the game's outcome - if they're not completely satisfied with the experience at Thursday night's matchup against the Dallas Mavericks. The way the Suns are playing, that could end up being quite a costly promotion. Back from its longest trip of the season, Phoenix will try to avoid its first five-game losing streak in nearly 11 months as it begins a stretch of six of seven at home. Whether it's to generate some excitement in the desert for the new-look Suns, fill the US Airways Center for a nationally televised game, or both, the team's "Satisfaction Guaranteed Night" comes at a time when Phoenix (7-12) isn't satisfied at all with its play. The team ended a 1-5 trip with Tuesday's 108-98 overtime loss to Memphis, a game the Suns led by as many as 16 in the second quarter. "We played good for three quarters,'' said center Marcin Gortat, who led Phoenix with 18.5 points and 12.3 rebounds per game as it dropped three of four to Dallas last season. "Quite honestly, something just suddenly turned off. Someone turned off the switch, and we just stopped playing. That's it.'' The Suns can't afford any more defensive letdowns, as they're allowing 108.0 points per game during their skid and a league-worst 102.9 for the season. Phoenix last lost five in a row Jan. 10-17. "They're gonna be desperate for a win," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told the team's official website. Dallas (8-10) is also looking to get back into the win column after getting routed 112-90 by the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday to kick off its three-game trip. The Mavs have dropped four of five, with three of those losses coming by at least 22 points. "Turnovers basically triggered all the problems tonight," Carlisle told the league's official website after his team's season high-tying 22 turnovers led to 26 Clippers points. Trying to avoid a fourth consecutive road loss - and falling three games below .500 for the first time since the start of 2011-12 - Dallas will still be without Dirk Nowitzki. The former MVP is traveling with the Mavs, but he said during Wednesday's game his debut following offseason knee surgery is still "a few weeks out." Dallas is hoping the recent addition of point guard Derek Fisher will add some veteran leadership and scoring punch until Nowitzki returns. Fisher hit three 3-pointers and scored 15 points Wednesday after going 1 for 8 with two points in his season debut Saturday against Detroit. "I'm just looking forward to be as helpful as possible with this team,'' Fisher said. "There's a lot of young guys, but we do have some potential.'' Suns point guard Goran Dragic, the team leader with 15.5 points and 6.6 assists per game, could play a key role in turning Phoenix's season in the right direction. He averaged 20.3 points and 8.3 assists in three games versus Dallas last season while with Houston. Phoenix forward Luis Scola totaled 59 points and 20 rebounds in those contests for the Rockets. The Suns avoided the season sweep and ended an eight-game skid in this series with a 96-94 victory in Dallas' last visit on March 8. The Mavericks had won their previous three in Phoenix.
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