1. MAVS MISSED LUKA’S IMPACT: Rookie Luka Doncic sat out Friday’s game with soreness in his right ankle, and his absence was sorely missed. Without their leading scorer and assist man, the Mavs finished the game with just 19 assists. That marks just the 11th time all season that the Mavs finished a game with under 20 assists. It also was the first time they finished with under 20 assists since they recorded 18 assists at Detroit on Jan. 31, the same day they made the seven-player, two-draft pick trade with the New York Knicks. Doncic also missed that game – the Pistons clipped the Mavs 93-89 — with soreness in his left ankle. In the other game Doncic missed this season (with a right hip strain), the Mavs distributed 20 assists during a 114-110 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
  2. BRUNSON HAS A CAREER NIGHT: Jalen Brunson continued a trend that shows he was one of the steals of last summer’s NBA Draft. Feeling more and more comfortable by the game, the rookie second-round draft pick poured in a season- and game-high 22 points against the Nuggets. Brunson’s performance came on a night when he was a productive 8-of-12 from the field. That’s the most field goals he’s made in a game this season. And his 66.7 percentage from the floor is his highest in games where he’s attempted at least 10 field goals. Brunson also had five assists against the Nuggets, marking the seventh time he’s collected at least five assists in a game. Plus, he picked up his third blocked shot of the year.
  3. POWELL PRODUCED SOLID GAME: Dwight Powell was very active against the Nuggets, finishing with a season-high 20 points and six rebounds in 25 minutes. It’s the fifth time in his career that Powell has scored at least 20 points in a game. (His career-high is 21 points). Powell’s previous high-scoring game this season was the 19 points he tallied in the home opener against Minnesota. Powell was 6-of-12 from the field against Denver. That’s the third time this season he’s attempting at least 10 field goals in a game and the fifth time he’s converted six or more field goals in a game. Also, Powell collected six rebounds against the Nuggets, marking the 15th game he’s had six or more rebounds. Powell has played 20-plus minutes in nine straight games, while reaching that barrier only seven times in the other 49 games.
  4. REBOUNDING WASN’T UP TO PAR: The Nuggets showed why they’re one of the top rebounding teams in the NBA. Denver outrebounded the Mavs, 63-42. That includes a 21-7 advantage on the offensive end of the court. That advantage led to the Nuggets outscoring the Mavs on second-chance points, 22-11. Denver’s big front line of Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee picked up 13 rebounds against the Mavs. Plumlee also grabbed six offensive rebounds, which was one more than the Mavs, while Jokic and Millsap had five offensive rebounds apiece. The Mavs only trailed the rebounding battle, 15-12, after the first quarter when they held a 30-25 lead.
  5. FINNEY-SMITH SHINES: Dorian Finney-Smith started attacking the basket on a regular basis against the Nuggets and it paid off big-time. The third-year veteran’s aggressiveness allowed him to attempt six free throws, and he successfully made five of those. That’s the most free throws Finney-Smith has attempted in a game in his career and the most free throws he’s made in a game in his career. Overall, the University of Florida product was 4-of-9 from the field and collected 13 points, a team-high nine rebounds and recorded two steals for the third straight game. This also was the fourth time in the past seven contests that Finney-Smith finished a game with at least eight rebounds. And it was the 21st time this season he’s made at least four field goals in a game.

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