Phoenix-AP -- Penny Hardaway and Shawn Marion were the leaders as Phoenix beat up Dallas 112-to-89. Hardaway got his first triple-double in a year and a-half, netting ten points, ten rebounds and ten assists. Marion added 31 points and 15 rebounds as the Suns moved two and a-half games ahead of Houston for the final Western Conference playoff berth. The Rockets have just three games to play. The Mavericks lost for the third time in four games to fall a game behind San Antonio for the overall lead. It's the first time the Mavs don't have at least a share of the Midwest Division lead. Dirk Nowitzki paced the Mavericks with 26 points and Nick Van Exel added 22. No other Dallas player scored in double figures.
Dallas, coming off a 108-99 loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, lost for the third time in four games to drop one game behind San Antonio for the Midwest Division lead and the No. 1 spot in the playoffs.
It's the first time the Mavericks have not been at least tied for the division lead all season, and coach Don Nelson sounded as if he was conceding the division title to the Spurs.
"I thought for us to have a chance we'd have to win two out of three on this road trip,'' Nelson said. "We've already lost the first two and it's not going to be an easy game day after tomorrow (at Utah). Nothing's easy at this point. We were a tired team tonight.''
If Dallas doesn't catch San Antonio, the Mavericks could face a first-round matchup against the three-time defending champion Lakers.