DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki wasn’t about to let Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns get away with another win in Dallas.

Nowitzki scored 31 points, including the Mavericks’ final eight, giving Dallas just enough to hold off the Suns 108-105 Wednesday night in yet another intense, entertaining game between the Western Conference rivals.

Dallas led by 17 at the end of the first quarter and Phoenix never recovered, but the Suns sure came close. Even after trailing by 14 with 7:10 left, they had a chance to tie it in the closing seconds but Nash shot an airball on a 3-pointer. There was no defender in his way, but he wasn’t fully set after shaking Josh Howard to get open following a cross-court pass from Shawn Marion.

Nowitzki had his second straight 30-point outing and fourth in the last eight games. It’s no coincidence the Mavericks have been surging since he got rolling. And this might’ve been their best performance all season.

The Mavs have won four straight and six of seven, enough to tighten up the top of the Western Conference standings. Dallas is 18-9, narrowly behind Phoenix (18-8) and San Antonio (18-7).

The Suns were coming off handing the Spurs their first home loss, but didn’t get much carryover. They’re in a 2-4 skid since a five-game winning streak.

This was the first meeting between Nowitzki and Nash since the big German was named MVP, which gave good buddies the last three awards.