NBA

Larkin scores career-best 18, Mavericks hold on to beat Suns

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The Canadian Press
1/18/2014 1:01:24 AM
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PHOENIX -- The son of a baseball Hall of Famer had the biggest game of his young pro basketball career, and the Dallas Mavericks probably wouldn't have won without him.

Rookie Shane Larkin, son of Cincinnati Reds great Barry Larkin, scored a career-high 18 points, half of them in the final quarter, and the Mavericks held on to beat the Phoenix Suns 110-107 on Friday night.

Larkin, the 18th overall draft pick out of Miami, scored six in the last 2:42, capped by a pair of free throws with 11.1 seconds left.

"Sometimes you think as a rookie that you don't want to mess up," he said. "You want to play smart, you don't want to do anything that the coach is uncomfortable (with). Tonight it was, 'Just go play. We need you to play and we need you to play well and do the things that you can do."'

Larkin was forced into extra duty when starting guard Jose Calderon hurt his knee in the first half.

"It's the most minutes I've played since college," he said.

Larkin made 6 of 8 shots, including two of three 3-pointers and had five assists in 26 1/2 minutes.

"That's why we drafted him," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "We felt like he could have this kind of impact."

The Suns had a last chance to tie it when Vince Carter turned it over trying to inbound the ball after a basket by Phoenix with 6.7 seconds left. But P.J. Tucker's try from the corner rimmed out, and replays showed his foot was on the line so it would have been for two points, anyway.

Monta Ellis scored 24 and Dirk Nowitzki 21 for the Mavericks, who never trailed. Shawn Marion scored eight of his 16 in the third quarter for Dallas.

Goran Dragic scored 28 points, and Markieff Morris added 23, including 14 in the final quarter, and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Morris' twin brother Marcus scored 13 for the Suns, who have lost four of five.

"We need to attack the basket more and we are in kind of a shooting slump right now," coach Jeff Hornacek said. "If you get those easy ones and now, all of a sudden, you go outside and you get a few."

Dallas led 104-94 after Larkin's running 5-footer with 2:53 to go. Markieff Morris' four-point play with 2:30 to go cut it to 103-98, but Nowitzki sank a 20-footer and it was 106-98 with 1:47 to go.

Larkin's two free throws put Dallas ahead 108-101 with 1:19 left, then Dragic led the Suns on a frenzied run.

His driving layup, followed by his 5-footer cut the lead to 108-105 with 14.1 seconds to play. Larkin's two free throws boosted it to 110-105 with 11.1 seconds to go. Dragic scored again inside to trim it to 110-107 with 6.7 seconds remaining, then Carter lost the ball and touched it again while he was trying to inbound it for a turnover giving the Suns one last chance.

Dragic found Tucker for the open jumper, but it rolled around the rim and came out.

"I was already celebrating," Tucker said, "because it did everything but go down."

Television replays showed Tucker's foot was on 3-point line so it would not have tied the game anyway.

Dallas shot out to a 23-12 lead on Nowitzki's 3-pointer and was up 44-34 after Larkin's 3-pointer with 8:22 left in the half.

Phoenix scored the next eight, cutting it to 44-42 on Markieff Morris' length-of-the-court pass to Tucker for a layup. The Suns cut the lead to one three times in quarter, the last at 51-50 on Gerald Green's 3-pointer with 4:03 left in the half. Dallas led 58-56 at the break.

The Suns briefly tied it on Dragic's jumper to start the second half, then Dallas took off again. Marion and Carter each sank a 3 in a 9-2 run that gave the Mavericks their biggest lead, 84-72 with 2:28 left in the third quarter.

Notes: The Suns were without Leandro Barbosa for the second game in a row because of a sore right shoulder. He is at the end of a 10-day contract and is expected to get another over the weekend. ... The Mavericks return home to face Portland on Saturday night. ... Dallas' 36 points were the most Phoenix has allowed in the first quarter this season. ... Dallas has won 12 of 15 over the Suns.

Shane Larkin (Photo: Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
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