PHOENIX — Blame it on the sleeves, if you must; the orange-sleeved jerseys that made their season debut.
The Suns won’t.
They blamed themselves.
“I felt we got three-happy,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said.
“We settled too much for threes,” Goran Dragic added.
The Suns missed 15 of 22 three-point attempts, including 10 misses in the second half as their comeback attempt failed, 110-107 in front of 16,486 at US Airways Center Friday.
Goran Dragic scored a game-high 28 points. Markieff Morris added 23 and 12 rebounds, recording his fifth double-double of the season, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Monta Ellis’ 24 points, Dirk Nowitzki’s 21 or rookie Shane Larkin’s career-high 18.
“That’s why we drafted him (No. 18),” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said.
Dallas went wire-to-wire, moving a game ahead of the Suns for the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.
It was the first time all season in which the Suns did not hold a lead.
It was Dragic’s 16th game with 20 or more points, surpassing his career-high for most such games in a season, topping his 15 games of 20 or more points last season.
The Morris twins combined to score nine straight points (Markieff six, Marcus three), helping the Suns pull to within a field goal, 86-84 with 9:43 remaining; it would be the closest the Suns would get the rest of the game.
Ish Smith accounted for eight points in an 11-2 second quarter run. He scored three times attacking the basket and assisted on a layup by PJ Tucker, who also received a length of the court pass from Markieff Morris for another easy basket. The stretch pulled the Suns to within one (46-45), a spot they reached three different times in the first half.
The Suns went four minutes between field goals—missing six shots, in the middle of the fourth quarter as the Mavericks went on an 11-4 run to go up double digits, 104-94 with 2:42 remaining in the game.
After a Dragic 12-foot jumper tied the game at 58 only 40 seconds into the third quarter — for the one and only tie of the game — the Mavericks scored six straight points, part of a 13-4 run with the final five points scored by Marion.
The Suns allowed an opponent season-high 36 first quarter points thanks to 57.7 percent shooting (15-of-26) by the Mavericks. “We lost the game in the first quarter,” Dragic said.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Mavericks shot 52 percent or better in three of the four quarters. For the game, they shot 53 percent (44-of-83), the 17th time they have made at least half of their field goal attempts with the team going 13-4 in those contests. It marked the fifth time this season that the Suns allowed an opponent to shoot 50 percent or better with the Suns going 1-4 in those games.
HE SAID IT
“It’s waves. We have games where we can’t miss, you’re going to have some streaks like this where you’re missing,” PJ Tucker said of the team’s struggles with the three-point shot. “We have to keep playing, keep shooting. We have great shooters, guys that really do it, guys that put time in and work on their game. Coach encourages us that if you get a good look to let it go, so we’re going to continue to do that and they’re going to start falling.”
On Day 10 of his 10-day contract, Leandro Barbosa missed his second straight game because of a sprained right shoulder. Regarding “The Brazilian Blur’s” future with the Suns, Hornacek said, “I think Ryan (McDonough) wanted to talk after the game and figure that out. I’m assuming that we’ll probably end up signing him to another 10-day contract.”
The Suns continue this season-long five-game homestand. They host Denver — a team the Suns are 2-0 against this season — on Sunday, January 19. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. MST with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.