Scouting Update: Suns-Mavericks

If the Mavs are to survive, they'll need to play desperate with great effort and energy on the defensive end.

Updated: May 20, 2005, 1:50 PM ET
By Brian James | ESPN Insider
Keys in Game 5
Phoenix: I'm happy that people around the country are seeing just how good MVP Steve Nash is on a basketball court. Steve had his third career triple-double midway through the third period ending with 34 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. Twenty-two of Steve's points came in the second half when his team needed them the most. Thirteen rebounds? Come on. With his poise and energy, Nash brings the effectiveness the Suns need. When coach Mike D'Antoni sat Steve for five possessions to start the second quarter, Phoenix had three turnovers and two misses. But when Steve sat again to start the fourth quarter, the Suns went on a 9-0 run behind Jimmy Jackson's 7-for-8 shooting and 15 points, going from eight down to one point ahead. The defense also got four stops and forced two turnovers to start the fourth. Amare Stoudemire started slow in the first quarter with repeated double-teaming, hitting one of his first five shots, but midway through the second quarter he and Nash both took off as Dallas couldn't stop the screen-roll action. Stoudemire finished with 33 points and a playoff career-high 18 rebounds with 21 and 12 coming in the second half. It is so hard to stop him because of his powerful, intimidating dunks and excellent FT shooting (13-for-15 in Game 5). Nash and Stoudemire had 20 straight points for Phoenix in the third period. This game was won in the paint as Phoenix had a 66-30 edge. Screen-roll finishes, transition scores, post-ups, and Nash creating all ended with scores inside. The other difference was the rebounding. The Suns were plus 7 at each end. Again, this showed the hustle and determination needed to win. D'Antoni told his team at halftime they needed to get that "attitude" back. They did in the final 24 minutes. This was the first time a team that trailed at halftime came back to win in this series.