Dirk Nowitzki paced the Dallas Mavericks to a 122-117 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, the German's 34 points allowing the visitors to strengthen their position in the race for final playoff spot in the West.
Nowitzki had 15 points in a decisive third quarter to help give the Mavs (39-25) a five-game advantage over the Suns, who lost their fifth in a row.
The power forward also had 13 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots, while Jason Terry added 25 points from the bench.
Playmaker Steve Nash led the Suns with 23 points and 13 assists, while Shaquille O'Neal and Matt Barnes each scored 21 points.
Phoenix (34-30) led 62-58 at halftime behind O'Neal's 13 points and Nash's 12, but the Mavericks scored nine consecutive points in a run that started three minutes into the third to grab a three-point lead and they never trailed again.