Dirk, Butler lead Mavs past Suns, Stoudemire

DALLAS -- Caron Butler spent the past few days trying to get accustomed to his new Dallas Mavericks teammates.

It didn't take the former Washington Wizards player long to figure out that Jason Kidd can help make that task a lot easier.

Kidd had 18 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and a career-high seven steals, and Butler started a key third-quarter run in the Mavericks' 107-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.

"He's a Hall of Famer, one of the best to ever do it," said Butler, who came to Dallas along with Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson in a seven-player deal Saturday. "I love playing with a guy like that. He gives you that confidence and makes the game that much easier."

Kidd was 4 of 8 from 3-point range and spurred a Mavericks defense that forced 17 turnovers. The Suns, who lead the NBA in scoring at more than 110 points per game, were held under 100 for only the seventh time this season.

"He's just amazing," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of Kidd. "To get seven steals is a phenomenal number in one game. It seems like they were all timely.

Butler scored 15 points and hit a jumper to open a 16-4 run in the third. Dirk Nowitzki added 10 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter for Dallas.

Amare Stoudemire, who has been mentioned in trade rumors in recent days, had 30 points and 14 rebounds for the Suns, who had their five-game road winning streak snapped.

Before the game, Stoudemire rated his chances of being traded before Thursday's deadline as 50-50.

Cleveland was considered the most likely destination if Stoudemire was dealt. But the Cavaliers moved on to their next choice, acquiring Antawn Jamison from Washington in a three-team trade Wednesday.

"I think he's put that all behind him and just played," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.

Butler and Haywood were playing their first home game and second overall with the Mavericks. Haywood had 10 points, nine rebounds and five blocks starting in place of the injured Erick Dampier, who did not play after undergoing surgery Wednesday to close an open dislocation of his right middle finger.

Dallas led 56-49 when it broke the game open starting the second half.

Butler, 4 of 16 in Dallas' 99-86 loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday, hit a 21-footer on the first possession of the third quarter.

Kidd hit consecutive 3-pointers to stretch Dallas' lead to 68-53. Butler hit a pair of free throws and Kidd fed Shawn Marion for a layup to make it 72-53 with 7:38 remaining in the third.

Jason Richardson scored 10 points during a 17-6 run that got Phoenix to 92-87 with 6:49 left.

Terry, who scored 17 points, hit a jumper and 3-pointer to push it back to 103-91 with 2:29 remaining. Marion had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Dallas, which had lost six of eight coming in.

"As a veteran team, we've got to understand what's at stake and start playing our best basketball," Kidd said. "We can't wait until the playoffs start. This was a must win for us."

Richardson had 19 points, Robin Lopez added 14 points and Steve Nash chipped in with 12 assists.

Stoudemire was 12 of 23 from the floor and grabbed 12 of his 14 rebounds in the first half.

"I felt great," Stoudemire said. "I came out with a lot of intensity from the start. I wanted to set the tone early, both offensively and defensively."

The trade of Stoudemire seemed more likely earlier in the day when agent Happy Walters told The Associated Press that it would make no sense for the Suns not to trade Stoudemire only to see him walk away as a free agent at the end of the season.

Walters said Stoudemire believed Phoenix's game Wednesday night at Dallas would be his last for the Suns.

Game notes
Nowitzki and Phoenix forward Grant Hill were called for technicals with 1:35 left. ... Stoudemire has scored at least 20 points in eight straight games. ... The Mavericks have beaten the Suns five straight times at home.