Mavs set for desert duel with Suns

( - The Dallas Mavericks will play four of the next five games on the road, starting with Sunday's matchup against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center.

The Mavericks are 20-14 away from Big D and went 3-2 on a recent homestand, which culminated with Friday's 112-101 setback to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Dallas was aiming for a fourth straight win, but scored only 37 points in the first half. A 64-point second half was too little, too late. Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris scored 16 points apiece, while Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons and Charlie Villanueva all scored 12 points.

"It's just an opportunity lost, unfortunately," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.

The Mavs are seventh in the West and will host San Antonio Tuesday before playing the next three games on the road against the Spurs, Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

In milestone news, Nowitzki needs 16 rebounds for 10,000 in his career and Carlisle is eight wins shy of passing Don Nelson (339) for the most victories by a Mavericks head coach.

Phoenix will play the next four games in the desert versus Dallas, Sacramento, Portland and Oklahoma City, and recently went 3-2 on a five-game stay.

The Suns are coming off Saturday's 117-102 road victory over the Houston Rockets, as Eric Bledsoe scored 34 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. P.J. Tucker contributed 19 points and Markieff and Marcus Morris netted 17 points apiece.

"When I'm aggressive and going to the rim, I find guys and I play without thinking a lot," Bledsoe said.

It was Phoenix's third straight win and fourth in five tries. It is 2 1/2 games behind Oklahoma City for the eighth seed in the Western Conference standings and only a half-game in back of New Orleans for the No. 9 spot.

Phoenix guards Brandon Knight (ankle) and Marcus Thornton (toe) are listed as questionable Sunday.

The Suns are 2-0 against the Mavericks this season and the two teams will meet again April 8 in the Lone Star State. The Suns have won four of the previous six matchups between the teams.

Former Mavericks and Suns point guard Steve Nash announced his retirement Saturday. Nash, a two-time NBA MVP, has been plagued by injuries the past few years and leaves the game ranked third on the NBA's career list with 10,335 assists and is the league's all-time leader in free throw percentage (90.4).

The eight-time All-Star has amassed 17,387 points and 1,685 3-pointers over 18 seasons with Phoenix, Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Nash began his long career with the Suns in 1996 and played two seasons in Phoenix before being traded to Dallas, where he first established himself as an elite point guard and helped the Mavericks reach the 2003 Western Conference finals.

After six successful seasons with the Mavericks, Nash rejoined the Suns as a free agent in 2004 and put together the best run of his career. He led Phoenix to back-to-back appearances in the West finals during the first two seasons of his return and was named the league's MVP in both of those campaigns.