O.J. Mayo has not been around Phoenix for the pains of the skidding Suns' search for a go-to player that they do not have.

It has been quite enough for the Suns to see Mayo become the league's eighth leading scorer and second most accurate and most prolific 3-point shooter for a $4 million salary.

But Mayo had not had the chance to make the statement about what the Suns missed by passing on him on in person yet. Mayo returned to US Airways Center on Thursday night for the first time since he came to Phoenix in July hoping to sign with the Suns. He left that meeting without a deal after being told he would not start and that he was not the caliber of Eric Gordon. Mayo would not acknowledge that his friends and background had been questioned in the meeting but members of his new team affirmed that the questioning struck him strangely.

Mayo hit the biggest shot of Dallas' 97-94 victory Thursday night at Phoenix, which has lost five consecutive games to fall to 7-13. With P.J. Tucker leaving the game with a right knee sprain and Michael Beasley benched for an entire fourth quarter for a 10th time this season, Suns coach Alvin Gentry was using a three-guard lineup with the diminutive but tough Sebastian Telfair defending Mayo. Telfair smothered Mayo, who eventually had to rise up and use his height advantage to hit a go-ahead jumper with 34.6 seconds remaining.

There have been plenty of those big shots for Mayo at different stages of Mavericks games this season. He is averaging 19.8 points and making 51 percent of his 3-pointers. Only seven players rank ahead of him in scoring and all have maximum-level or near-maximum contracts. Mayo was choosing between Dallas and Phoenix for an opportunity, not money. He bet on himself, taking a $4 million salary this season and a player option for the second year that he surely will decline after becoming the scorer Dallas needed in Dirk Nowitzki's absence. After passing on Mayo, the Suns signed Shannon Brown at shooting guard for a potential $7 million over two years.