Point guard Deron Williams starred on offense, fueling the Dallas Mavericks to a 113-108 win over the Phoenix Suns at the Mexico City Arena on Thursday.
The win, which marked the second game outside of the United States or Canada in program history, snapped a three-game skid, which began in a loss to Phoenix a week ago.
D-Will logged 23 points, going 4-of-5 from deep, and added a game-high 12 assists, which helped offset a stellar performance by Phoenix guard Devin Booker, who scored 28 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter.
”Deron had a great night, both as playmaker and as a scorer, and he was involved in key stops down the stretch,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ”When a veteran guy like that has a night like that, it’s a real advantage for your team. He was solid and did it in a spectacular fashion – a sign of a great pro.’’
Carlisle chose to go small against the Suns, inserting Seth Curry into the starting backcourt and moving Dirk Nowitzki to the five. The move seemed to pay off, as D-Will and Curry combined for 17 points in the first quarter.
Deron either scored or assisted on Dallas’ first three buckets, driving to the basket for a layup, finding Harrison Barnes for an alley-oop dunk and pulling up for a triple to put the team ahead 7-5.
Curry got hot shortly thereafter, scoring nine straight points for the Mavs, including back-to-back triples to give them a 20-17 advantage. Deron assisted on the second trey, which kickstarted a 10-2 run—D-Will scored then assisted on back-to-back jumpers to highlight the scoring spurt.
Dallas took its largest lead of the frame on Deron’s free throw, 27-19, before the team took a 32-29 edge into the second stanza.
D-Will continued to facilitate, finding Nowitzki for three straight buckets before pulling up for a jumper to give the Mavs their largest lead of the quarter, 41-37. The first assist was a gem, as Deron drove through the lane before flicking out to Nowitzki, who took it straight to the rim with two hands.
The entire period was nip-and-tuck, featuring seven ties and eight lead changes altogether. Deron accounted for two of those swaps, draining a triple for a one-point advantage, 46-45, and driving in for a layup for a two-point edge, 55-53.
Dallas trailed 59-57 at the break, but Deron orchestrated a 19-4 run to open the new half. No. 8 flipped the lead for good with the first of Dallas’ four straight three-pointers.
For the following triple, D-Will drove toward the basket before kicking out the ball, which went around the horn before Nowitzki flicked in a three from the wing, 65-59. Deron directly assisted on Nowitzki’s second trey before capping the Mavs’ three-point barrage with a 26-footer, 71-61.
Deron followed up with a floater before Wesley Matthews hit another three, helping the Mavs to take their largest lead of the game, 76-63, at the 7:29 mark.
D-Will found Matthews (18 points, 5 aassists) for consecutive threes in the final frame, 105-94, but Booker and the Suns (12-27) continued to chip away.
Phoenix pulled as close as four, 111-107, on Booker’s back-to-back treys with 14.5 seconds remaining in regulation, but Dorian Finney-Smith hit a pair of free throws to ultimately ice the game.
“We just relied on each other,” said Barnes, who tallied 22 points and five assists. “When things got a little close, it wasn’t like we were trying to play hero ball or anything like that. We continued to share it, and we got stops.”
Deron and the Mavs (12-27) return to the hardwood to host the Minnesota Timberwolves (13-26) on Sunday, Jan. 15. Tipoff from the American Airlines Center is timed for 1 p.m. CT.
The game will mark the second time within a week the two go head-to-head, as the T-Wolves topped the Mavs on Monday, 101-92. Karl Anthony-Towns scored 20 of his 34 points in the first quarter to help the Timberwolves get off to a hot start on their way to snapping a four-game skid. Since then, Minnesota beat the Houston Rockets by a 119-105 decision on Wednesday.
Andrew Wiggins (22.0ppg, 4.2rpg), Towns (21.7ppg, 11.8rpg, 1.5bpg) and Zach LaVine (20.4ppg, 3.1apg) lead the T-Wolves in production.