Game 15: Mavs vs. Nuggets

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DALLAS — After seeing their four-game win streak snapped following a 102-100 defeat Saturday in Denver, the Dallas Mavericks didn’t have to wait long to get their revenge on the Nuggets as the home-and-home series shifted to Big D two nights later.

Looking to get even Monday night back on their home floor, the Mavericks also attempted to move to 8-0 to start the season at American Airlines Center for the first time since the 2003-04 season. But just like two nights prior the Nuggets would have the Dallas team’s number. And after finding themselves on the downside of a 110-96 score, the Mavericks (9-6) would suffer their first loss of the season in front of their hometown crowd.

“We didn’t have much competitive energy tonight,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of the loss just two nights after being ejected in the first half of Saturday’s defeat.

He added: “This is a coaching loss. I didn’t have these guys ready to play – it’s clear. I’ll take the blame for this. Just didn’t have them ready to play.”

With first-string center Samuel Dalembert still dealing with bruised ribs, Carlisle was left no other choice but to make a change to his starting lineup after the 6-foot-11 big man overslept for the team’s morning shootaround. Fellow newcomer DeJuan Blair then replaced Dalembert while making his first start as a Mav, while starting point guard Jose Calderon got the team out of the gate quickly using his perimeter assault to jump out to a 12-4 advantage.

But the Nuggets (7-6) would come charging right back into the game with a 13-4 run after the Mavs went ahead by as much as 11. Denver then slid into the second stanza with a 32-27 advantage.

“It is what it is. We didn’t play well enough,” 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said of the opening period. “I thought we started out fine. … We were up 12-4, and then next thing you know they shot an unbelievable percentage. That’s really what it comes down to, and defensively we couldn’t ever get the job done.”

“I thought we started off pretty good, but we made a few changes and they were on a run and we couldn’t bounce back from it,” four-time All-Star Shawn Marion added. “We let guys get going that shouldn’t have got going, and it became hard for us to match up at certain positions.”

With Dalembert entering the game to start the second quarter, the Mavs attempted to make a stand on their home hardwood. But instead the Nuggets would continue to separate the two squads on the scoreboard while Nowitzki reached two more milestones, moving past Reggie Miller (6,237) for 13th place on the NBA’s free-throws made list and tying Brooklyn Nets big man Kevin Garnett (25,352) for 14th on the league’s all-time scoring list.

An alley-oop connection between Evan Fournier and Wilson Chandler then further handicapped the Mavs, forcing a timeout by Carlisle with the Dallas team in a 48-36 hole with 4:50 remaining in the first half. Nowitzki then connected on two free throws with 3:03 left in the half to pass Garnett, before the backcourt of Calderon and leading scorer Monta Ellis led a 13-4 Dallas run.

Still, the Mavs faced a 56-51 deficit entering the intermission.

Led by 13 first-half points apiece from Nowitzki and Ellis on a combined 10-of-13 shooting, the Mavs stayed in the game while slightly outshooting the Nuggets through two quarters, 54.3 percent to 54.1 percent. The Mavs also tried to overcame their nine turnovers for 10 Denver points in the first half while losing a 20-15 rebounding battle.

Behind Nuggets big man Kenneth Faried’s interior play, the Mavs would quickly once again find themselves down by double digits in the early minutes of the third.  Ty Lawson’s 3-pointer from the wing then forced a 20-second timeout by Carlisle after the Mavs slipped into a 72-57 hole with 6:20 left in the period.

But sixth man Vince Carter and Marion would then take matters into their own hands before Ellis’ driving three-point play while leading a flurry for the Mavs. And after trying to answer Lawson’s scoring barrage, the Mavs limped into the fourth quarter down by eight, 85-77.

Leaning on Blair inside to open the fourth, the Mavs would again try to stage a comeback. Rookie point guard Gal Mekel then took the backup point guard minutes from first-rounder Shane Larkin, draining a floater to bring the Mavericks within four, 89-85, with 9:00 left on the game clock.

Again, however, the Nuggets would answer on Nate Robinson’s corner 3-pointer in front of the Mavs’ bench to force a Dallas timeout with Denver taking a 95-85 advantage and 6:56 still remaining. Robinson stepped in again from long range to push the margin to 13, before Nowitzki snapped his streak of 35 consecutive free throws made.

J.J. Hickson then put the Mavs away with his and-one dunk and banked-in free throw with 3:41 remaining to put the Nuggets comfortably ahead by 15.

“We got beat three out of four quarters and we tied one of them, so it was a pretty thorough beating, really. Other than a great start and a bit of a run in the second half, we were unable to get any sustained traction. So it’s an L,” Carlisle concluded.

Leading the way for the Mavs in the loss was Ellis, who scored 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting while continuing his streak of posting at least 18 points in every game this season.

Nowitzki added 18 points on 7-of-15 from the field, while Marion recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Calderon pitched in 12 points and Blair registered 10 points as all five Dallas starters scored in double figures.

Meanwhile, Hickson led six Nuggets in double figures with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting. The Nuggets’ 54.7 percent shooting also bettered the Mavs’ 46.3 percent, in addition to a 42-36 rebounding edge. Both teams also committed 13 turnovers.

“We came out of the gate and we played with a lot of intensity. We went up by 10 or 12 and we slipped,” Ellis explained while summing up the night. “We started making turnovers, and they came down and scored six or seven possessions in a row. That’s a team effort, and I think we’ve got to go back to the drawing board and get back to our identity of getting stops and playing Mavs basketball.

“They’re a good team, but I think we hurt ourselves. We made them miss shots, they came back and got the rebound and got extra points. We had wide-open shots that didn’t go down, and they came down and converted. Hats off to them, but I think more than anything we hurt ourselves.”

Note: The Mavericks return to action Wednesday night when they play host to the Golden State Warriors at American Airlines Center. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting


All Stats

W. Chandler, F 18 4-6 1-2 2-2 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 4 13 11
K. Faried, F 25 4-7 0-0 2-4 3 7 10 0 2 1 1 1 -6 10
J. Hickson, C 33 8-11 0-0 6-8 3 5 8 1 3 1 2 3 19 22
R. Foye, G 25 3-7 1-5 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 3 4 1 7
T. Lawson, G 30 7-11 2-3 3-6 0 3 3 11 0 0 1 2 0 19
N. Robinson 23 5-9 3-6 4-4 0 1 1 3 1 0 0 2 22 17
D. Arthur 26 3-7 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 1 4 19 6
A. Miller 19 2-3 0-0 0-0 3 3 6 3 0 0 1 1 13 4
J. Hamilton 18 4-8 1-2 2-2 0 7 7 2 3 0 1 0 -2 11
T. Mozgov 8 1-3 0-0 1-2 1 1 2 0 0 0 2 1 -4 3
E. Fournier 6 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 3 0
A. Randolph 2 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 -8 0
Q. Miller 0 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Gallinari 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. McGee 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   41-75 8-20 20-28 10 32 42 23 10 2 13 24   110
    54.7% 40.0%                      

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All Stats

S. Marion, F 34 6-10 0-2 1-2 4 8 12 4 1 0 0 1 -10 13
D. Nowitzki, F 31 7-15 0-1 4-5 1 5 6 2 1 0 2 1 2 18
D. Blair, C 18 5-9 0-0 0-0 2 6 8 0 1 0 2 3 -6 10
M. Ellis, G 35 8-15 0-2 6-6 0 0 0 4 1 0 1 2 -11 22
J. Calderon, G 29 4-6 3-4 1-2 0 0 0 4 0 0 2 3 -10 12
V. Carter 22 3-13 0-4 2-2 2 0 2 3 0 1 1 3 -16 8
B. James 7 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 2 -14 0
W. Ellington 13 0-3 0-2 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 -5 0
S. Larkin 4 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 -6 0
S. Dalembert 17 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 2 0 3 5 2
J. Crowder 12 2-5 2-4 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 2 0 6
G. Mekel 9 2-3 0-0 1-2 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 2 5
R. Ledo 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 -1 0
D. Harris 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B. Wright 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   38-82 5-19 15-19 10 26 36 18 5 3 13 22   96
    46.3% 26.3%                      

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DALLAS — Take 2.

Despite not sticking around to see his team’s comeback from 17 points down before falling to a 102-100 defeat Saturday in Denver, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is well aware of what his team has to do differently as the home-and-home series shifts to American Airlines Center two nights later.

Ejected with 5:14 remaining in the first half, Carlisle would watch from the locker room as his players fell just short on the road after a valiant comeback. Looking to improve to 8-0 at home, however, the coach now admits that his team will have to play much better 48 hours later.

“Well, familarity is an advantage, I guess. They’re a good team, and that’s a disadvantage. We did a few good things, but not enough. We’ve got to do things a lot better tonight,” Carlisle said while assessing the second showdown between the two squads.

Despite getting outshot, 44.3 percent to 41.2 percent, and losing a 44-39 rebounding battle inside, the Mavericks (9-5) still stood with a chance to tie the game on Dirk Nowitzki’s jumper before time expired. Monday night, while trying to bounce back from having their four-game win streak snapped, the Mavs hope to get off to a much better start, after quickly finding themselves at a disadvantage while trailing 35-22 to the Nuggets (6-6) following the opening quarter.

And if the Mavericks can learn from their mistakes made in Saturday night’s loss then Carlisle believes that remaining unbeaten at home should be in the cards.

“We kept playing and we kept competing, and we gave ourselves a chance. It just came down to one or two plays, and the reality is the first quarter was what got us beat,” the coach said of Saturday’s loss. “You know, you get beat by 13 in the first quarter on the road in Denver, I mean, it puts you in a huge whole. So we’ve got to play better from the jump tonight, and we’ve got to play well for 48 (minutes). You know, we’ve got to rebound. We didn’t do that early, and that really hurt us. And we’ve got to get to the shooters.”

Note: The Mavericks host the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Center on Monday. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting

DALLAS — Returning to American Airlines Center for the second half of a home-and-home series Monday night against the Denver Nuggets, the Dallas Mavericks will try to continue feasting on visiting teams in their own friendly confines.

But, after falling to a 102-100 defeat while overcoming a 17-point deficit in Denver on Saturday night, the Mavericks (9-5) will also seek retribution back on their home hardwood.

Traveling to Denver on the second night of a back-to-back following Friday’s 103-93 home win over Utah, the Mavs would admittedly come out sluggishly. The visiting Dallas team then finished the night without its head coach, following Rick Carlisle’s ejection for arguing with officials with 5:14 remaining in the first half. And despite staging a valiant comeback led by 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki’s game-high 27 points on 9-of-21 shooting, the Mavs would come up short in the final seconds as No. 41’s shot before the buzzer misfired, falling to 2-5 this season on the road in the process while seeing their four-game winning streak snapped.

“We wanted to win,” sixth man Vince Carter said after breaking out of his shooting slump with 16 points off the bench in the loss. “We were down and didn’t want to give up. We brought better fight, better focus and better energy in the second half and started to see shots going in, me in particular. I felt like I needed to get back to who I am as a player and just be aggressive. … I think we were just a step behind and a little lethargic. We were just a different team in the second half, and I was proud to see everybody stick together.”

“It was a tough game,” leading scorer Monta Ellis added after posting 25 points in Saturday’s loss. “We fought. We did everything we could to get back in the game and take the lead. … But there’s nothing we can do. We can’t hold our heads. We’ll just wait till Monday.”

The Nuggets (6-6) finished Saturday night outshooting the Mavericks, 44.3 percent to 41.2 percent, while adding a 44-39 rebounding edge to boot. Denver also overcame its 18 turnovers, which led to 13 Dallas points, while the Mavs ended the game with 12 giveaways at the other end of the floor.

Monday night, however, the Mavs will seek revenge while attempting to once again feed off their home crowd against Denver’s high-octane attack. The Mavericks will also take the court looking for their first 8-0 start at home since winning their first 10 games at American Airlines Center during the 2003-04 campaign.

Note: The Mavericks host the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Center on Monday. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting

Dirk Nowitzki has 25,343 career points and needs 10 points to pass Brooklyn’s Kevin Garnett (25,352) for 14th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (the Nets don’t play tonight). Alex English ranks 13th all-time with 25,613 career points.

Dirk Nowitzki has shot 6,237-of-7,102 (.878) from the line for his career and is currently tied with Reggie Miller (6,237) for 13th place on the NBA’s all-time free throws made list. He will take sole possession of 13th place with his next made free throw. Charles Barkley ranks 12th all-time in free throws made with 6,349.

Nowitzki has made 32 consecutive free throws and is shooting a league-high 94.9 percent (74-of-78) from the line this season.

Shawn Marion has 1,662 career steals and needs five thefts to pass Fat Lever (1,666) for 20th place on the NBA’s all-time steals list.

Vince Carter passed Steve Nash for 10th place on the NBA’s all-time 3-point field goals made list at Denver (11/23/13) and now has 1,685 career 3-pointers. He needs 15 treys for 1,700 in his career.

Mavericks Head Coach Rick Carlisle

On tonight’s game
“We got beat three out of four quarters and we tied one of them, so it was a pretty thorough beating, really. Other than a great start and a bit of a run in the second half, we were unable to get any sustained traction. It’s an ‘L.’”

On limiting the play of Samuel Dalembert
“Sam missed shoot around this morning because he overslept. The two guys that were there got the first two rotations and then he played after that.”

On going deep into the bench
“I was looking for energy, a spark. We didn’t have much competitive energy tonight and the guys on the bench are the guys that have got to give it to us. This is a coaching loss. I didn’t have these guys ready to play – it’s clear. I’ll take the blame for this. Just didn’t have them ready to play.”

On calling it a “coaching loss” after a good start to the game
“It’s a 48-minute game and you’ve got to be ready. Sometimes success is a form of adversity. Prosperity is always one of the challenges in pro sports because teams can strike back so quickly. You’ve got to be able to sustain, and we didn’t do it tonight.”

Vince Carter

On tonight’s performance….
“We have to respond and we have to play. We have to do our jobs as well. It’s unfortunate because we need to win and protect at home. We have done a great job at home so far. We need to find ways to win and we just couldn’t do it tonight.”

On the defensive performance…
“We have to continue to work at it. There are nights when we have been dead. Sometimes we are dead in the first half and the second half is good but we have to find energy from the jump ball and sustain it. They did to us what we want to do to them. Come out in the third quarter and hit the shot first.”