P.J. Tucker’s televised postgame interview summed it up nicely, as the Phoenix Suns battled for a fourth-straight win, 98-92 over the Mavericks Sunday night.
The Suns (38-33) fought, indeed, first fending off a 15-point Dallas comeback and then holding off the Mavericks in the final minutes to keep their hopes of snagging a playoff berth alive.
Tucker led the battle to start, racking up 13 points in seven minutes and helping the Suns to a second-straight 30-plus first quarter.
He was complemented by guard Eric Bledsoe’s game-high 20 points, six rebounds and nine assists, and Markieff Morris’ 19 points and 13 rebounds.
After a 15-point halftime lead, the Mavs capitalized on missed Suns field goals and a combined 15 points between Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis.
In fact, after hitting their first four 3-pointers of the game, Phoenix would dry up for the next 15 attempts and handed Dallas the lead early in the fourth quarter.
Bledsoe snapped the drought with a three, and reserve guard Archie Goodwin helped Phoenix break into a 12-2 run with a momentum-swinging triple. He then spun past a Dallas defender and sank a floater.
“Archie came in and gave us energy, that’s what he does,” said Tucker.
Morris then hit an off-balance 14-footer on the baseline with 29 seconds left in Tyson Chandler’s face, and the Suns sealed it — and kept their playoff heartbeat pumping.
What were the numbers?
Don’t sleep on the other Morris twin.
Marcus Morris had 11 points and 11 rebounds to help the twins combine for 30 points and 24 boards — about 30 percent of the Suns offense and 50 percent of the total team rebounds.
All five Suns starters hit double-digit scoring — including Alex Len, who had 10 in his second game back after an ankle sprain.
Tucker’s impressive defense against Ellis held the latter to only four buckets on 22 attempts.
The Suns managed to scrape out the win despite giving up the ball 22 times for 25 Dallas points.
The Mavericks had 12 turnovers, which led to 18 points for Phoenix.
Both teams were even down low, with 40 points apiece in the paint.
The game got a bit chippy near the end Several Suns players heated up after Bledsoe was called for a brush-by foul.
Markieff Morris also got feisty and was called for his ninth technical foul of the season.
One really feel-good moment for the Suns happened after Goodwin sank his clutch shot:
Gerald Green first to give the guy who is taking his minutes a hug.
— Kevin Zimmerman (@KZimmermanFSAZ) March 23, 2015
The Suns will host Sacramento on Wednesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. as they continue to fight for the eight-seed. Tune in to Arizona Sports 98.7 FM for the call.