January 9, 2009

NBA: Phoenix 128, Dallas 100

Shaquille O'Neal scored 25 points Friday and helped the Phoenix Suns blow the game open in the third quarter en route to a 128-100 whipping of Dallas.

A 22-4 Phoenix run in the third coincided with the departure of Dallas' Josh Howard. He suffered an apparent arm injury and did not return.

Having played in Dallas 24 hours earlier, the Mavericks ran out of steam without Howard while losing for the first time in three games.

O'Neal made 9-of-15 shots from the field and was perfect in nine free throws. Jason Richardson added 21 points and Leandro Barbosa had 20.

Phoenix led by six at halftime and then outscored Dallas in the third quarter 40-19. Earlier in the evening, Orlando scored 41 points in the first period against Atlanta -- the most points produced by an NBA team in any quarter this season.

Dirk Nowitzki, still suffering from flu-like symptoms that bothered him during Dallas' win over New York Thursday, led the Mavericks with 19 points.