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Suns retain playoff hopes after beating Mavericks

The Sports Xchange
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The last time the Suns beat the Dallas Mavericks in Phoenix, it propelled them on a late-season run that carried them within a game of the NBA Finals.

There isn't much hope of that happening this year, but the 96-94 win over the Mavericks did wash away the sting of a loss in Oklahoma City the night before. And it probably kept the idea of making the playoffs still on the table for Phoenix, longshot that it may be.

"We couldn't lose both of these (Oklahoma City and Dallas) and stay in the playoff picture," said guard Steve Nash, who still relishes any win over his former team. "It's an early crunch time for us. We've got to keep crawling back to that eight-nine-ten spots and try to give ourselves a chance to sneak in there."

The Suns snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Mavericks, which had been Phoenix's longest active skid against a single opponent. It was the Suns first win in the series overall, and first win in Phoenix, since Jan. 28, 2010 -- when Gentry sat then-star Amare Stoudemire in the second half and kick-started a big run for the Suns to the Western Conference finals.

These Suns are still 18-21, still on the outside looking in at the playoff race, but still kicking after winning six of their last eight games -- four of them against winning teams.

"This is definitely big for us," guard Jared Dudley said. "We've struggled against them more than any other team, especially at home. They got us really good last time (by 30 points) and blowing that 16-point lead against Oklahoma City (Wednesday), we wanted to come back home and get the win."

The Suns continue a four-game homestand on Saturday against Memphis.

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