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The Mavs have a good chance to keep climbing with the next five games at home. And they might've found a spark from the new wrinkle of pairing 5-foot-11 backup point guard J.J. Barea in the lineup with Jason Kidd. Sometimes they've even gone to a three-point-guard lineup with Terry joining them.
Carlisle used that in the fourth quarter when Phoenix got within 10. Barea then scored or set up every point in a 10-0 run. Soon after, he nailed a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 23 and punctuated it with a loud scream drowned out by a roar from fans already on their feet.
"When you have confidence you can do anything and his confidence is high right now," Kidd said of Barea.
"He's fearless," added Nowitzki. "He's small, but for some reason he's a great finisher in there. He gets to the seams. I just really like that he's in attack mode."
Barea, who earned the start by hitting the winning shot in the final minute of the previous game, finished with a season-best 18 points. Terry scored 19, continuing his strong play off the bench to make up for the scoring punch lost by Josh Howard being out with an ankle injury. Dallas is 6-1 in the seven straight games he's missed.
Although these teams no longer score like they used to, the Mavericks did a good imitation of their former selves in the first half, scoring 33 points in the first quarter and a season-best 64 by halftime.
The Suns kept up with the pace the first 11 1/2 minutes, then Dallas broke the game open with a 21-4 spurt.
Notes: O'Neal had four points and five rebounds in 26 minutes. He made only 1 of 6 shots. ... Kidd made a 3-pointer, the 1,386th of his career, tying Antoine Walker for ninth in NBA history.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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