Mavs punch their ticket to the playoffs with 101-98 win over Suns

Mavericks vs. Suns

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic drives to the basket past Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki during the first half at the American Airlines Center on April 12, 2014. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

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by SCHUYLER DIXON

Associated Press

Posted on April 12, 2014 at 10:21 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 12 at 10:21 PM

DALLAS (AP) — Monta Ellis matched his season high with 36 points and Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 of his 23 during a second-half rally that carried the Dallas Mavericks back to the playoffs in a 101-98 victory against the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.

Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki brought the Mavericks back by hitting five 3-pointers between them in less than 4 minutes of the third quarter, erasing most of a 13-point deficit. Then they teamed to get the lead back in the fourth, and Dallas held on in the final minutes.

The Mavericks left the Suns and Memphis to battle for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Dallas is back in the postseason after a 12-year playoff streak ended last season.

Eric Bledsoe scored 29 points for the Suns, who play the Grizzlies on Monday night in a game that figures to go a long way toward deciding the final playoff team in the West.

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