Game 65: Mavs vs. Nuggets

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GAME RECAP: Mavericks 118, Nuggets 107

Yogi Ferrell scores a game-high 24 points to lead the Mavericks to a win over the Nuggets, 118-107.

DALLAS – It was only appropriate that on a night that the Dallas Mavericks dubbed Super Heroes Night, it was a player named Yogi who magically saved the day.

Yogi Ferrell scored a season- and game-high 24 points and Dennis Smith Jr. played one of his best all-round games of the year as the Mavs masterfully handled the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, winning 118-107, before a sellout crowd of 19,504 at American Airlines Center.

This was just the fourth win in the last 18 games for the Mavs, who outscored Denver 38-23 in the third quarter and cruised to the finish line.

Ferrell was absolutely sensation as he made 9-of-11 shots, including 6-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc. The second-year veteran got into a zone early on and sty there for the balance of the game.

“I felt like guys like (Harrison Barnes) and Dennis did a great job of finding me on the court,” Ferrell said. “I stayed space and they did the hard job.

“I did the easy job, shots felt good going in, so I kept shooting them.”

When asked what was Ferrell able to do that made him so successful against the Nuggets, coach Rick Carlisle said: “He was running around making shots. And I thought he battled hard defensively.

“He has a tough little matchups guarding Gary Harris to start the game, and he guarded (Will) Barton, who is taller. He was out there battling away. He had a terrific game.”

Smith also had a terrific game. When the rookie from North Carolina State wasn’t finding open teammates, he was slicing his way through the teeth of the Nuggets’ defense and scoring at the rim.

Smith said he’s steady learning that balance on when to look for his shot and when to distribute the ball to an open teammate.

“It’s going to take some time to find it, so I just come out and keep being aggressive, accepting the mistakes I make and learning from it,” he said. “And I think over time I’ll eventually learn how to balance it.”

Carlisle praised the performance by Smith, describing it as: “One of the best of the year, flat-out. I was super impressed at how he kept the ball moving.

“He kept himself a threat to score and his teammates were always threats to get great shots. And what’s what great point guards do.”

Denver (35-29) chopped a 102-90 deficit down to 104-99 with 6:44 remaining in the game. But the Mavs (20-45) regrouped and kicked into another gear while putting some considerable distance between themselves and the Nuggets.

A floater by J. J. Barea, a layup form Dwight Powell, a triple by Ferrell, and back-to-back baskets from Barnes and the Mavs were back in control at 115-102 with 3:53 left on the clock.

As a whole, Dirk Nowitzki came out red-hot as he drilled three 3-pointers in as many attempts in the first quarter, which ended with the Mavs nursing a slim 29-25 lead. Nowitzki finished the night with 17 points and made 5-of-7 hoops from behind the 3-point line.

The Mavs also won the rebounding battle, 51-49, and held one of the main nemesis – Nikola Jokic – to just four points on 2-of-9 shooting. Nerlens Noel, who was primarily guarding Yokic finished the night with eight points and a season-high 14 rebounds.

“Coach trusted me to play north of 20 minutes and I went out there and played hard, played my game and did what I had to do,” said Noel, who played 26 minutes. “Playing with Dennis really makes it much easier with his athleticism.

“I think we really played off each other and got it going.”

The Mavs showed a video tribute in the first quarter in honor of former Mavs guard Devin Harris, who was traded to Denver on Feb. 8. Harris wound up scoring his 10,000th career point on Tuesday, and often traded smiles and grins with his ex-teammates during a break in the action.

“It was kind of crazy,” said Smith, when asked about playing against Devin Harris. “I saw him at chapel and it was crazy seeing him on the other team.

“But it’s all love and respect. That was a guy I watched a lot of as a young’un, so I had a good time competing against him tonight.”

And the Mavs, who made 15-of-27 shots from 3-point range, had a good time squaring the season series with the Nuggets at 2-2.

“This is a great win for us, especially with a team that is trying to get in the playoffs,” Ferrell said. “We try busting them a little bit up.

“It’s great for us, we lived in the paint, we played together and that’s the biggest thing for us. They’re a great team, Denver had a lot of offensive threats, so it’s a great win for us and we got better.”

Nuggets

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
W. Chandler, SF 32 7-12 3-5 4-6 0 3 3 0 0 0 3 0 -18 21
P. Millsap, PF 19 3-10 0-1 6-6 2 4 6 3 1 2 0 5 -14 12
N. Jokic, C 25 2-9 0-4 0-1 1 8 9 5 2 1 1 0 -8 4
G. Harris, SG 32 5-13 1-5 0-0 1 2 3 2 0 0 2 2 -21 11
J. Murray, PG 24 2-8 1-4 1-1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 -12 6
W. Barton 30 5-15 3-7 3-4 2 6 8 7 1 1 4 3 -4 16
M. Plumlee 18 4-5 0-0 2-2 3 4 7 1 0 1 0 4 5 10
D. Harris 21 3-9 1-5 0-0 1 4 5 3 0 2 1 2 6 7
T. Lyles 18 4-7 1-3 1-3 1 4 5 1 0 0 3 0 5 10
M. Beasley 17 3-4 1-2 3-3 0 3 3 1 1 0 0 0 6 10
D. Arthur 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
K. Faried 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Jefferson 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
T. Craig 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Hernangomez 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
T. Lydon 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M. Morris 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   38-92 11-36 20-26 11 38 49 23 5 8 14 16   107
    41.3% 30.6%                      

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Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, SF 32 7-18 0-1 1-3 2 5 7 2 1 0 1 3 12 15
D. Nowitzki, PF 22 6-11 5-7 0-0 0 4 4 1 1 0 1 4 0 17
D. Powell, C 23 5-9 0-0 4-5 2 2 4 0 2 1 2 2 3 14
Y. Ferrell, SG 38 9-11 6-7 0-0 0 4 4 2 1 1 2 2 19 24
D. Smith Jr., PG 34 7-16 2-6 2-2 1 4 5 11 1 0 1 1 17 18
N. Noel 25 3-6 0-0 2-5 2 12 14 0 1 1 0 4 11 8
D. McDermott 27 4-8 1-2 6-6 0 2 2 2 0 0 1 3 12 15
J. Barea 22 2-9 1-4 2-2 1 7 8 6 1 0 6 0 -8 7
K. Collinsworth 13 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 0 0 0 1 1 -11 0
S. Hopson 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M. Kleber 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S. Mejri 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S. Curry 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Finney-Smith 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Jones 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
W. Matthews 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Motley 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   43-90 15-27 17-23 9 42 51 24 8 3 15 20   118
    47.8% 55.6%                      

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Noel And-One Bucket

J.J. Barea throws it up to Nerlens Noel for the alley-oop and-one bucket.


Postgame: Dirk Nowitzki

Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki dishes on Tuesday's win over the Nuggets.


Postgame: Dennis Smith Jr.

Mavs PG Dennis Smith Jr. dishes on Tuesday's win over the Nuggets.


Postgame: Nerlens Noel

Mavs C Nerlens Noel dishes on Tuesday's win over the Nuggets.


Dirk 41 Moments #41

Dirk Nowitzki put on a performance for the ages on March 7, 2017 against the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring 25 points in the first half and becoming just the sixth player in NBA history to reach the 30,000-point milestone.


One-on-one with Dwight Powell

Mavs.com's Bobby Karalla goes one-on-one with Dwight Powell prior to tonight's game against the Nuggets.


Shootaround: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle weighs in on tonight's game against the Denver Nuggets, Devin Harris' return to the AAC and more.


Shootaround: Dennis Smith Jr.

Mavs PG Dennis Smith Jr. dishes on tonight's keys to victory against the Nuggets.

DALLAS – An old trusted friend will be wearing the other team’s uniform tonight when the Dallas Mavericks host the Denver Nuggets.

Devin Harris, who the Mavs traded to the Nuggets on Feb. 8, will be wearing his old No. 34 – but this time for Denver – when the two teams collide tonight at 7:30 CT at American Airlines Center. And undoubtedly, Harris will receive a warm ovation whenever he hops off the Nuggets’ bench and enters the game.

“Well, we miss him a lot,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s the quintessential Maverick.

“The loyalty he has had to this franchise, to this city, the things he went through to get himself back in a position to play with his foot injury, the guy is a remarkable guy. It’ll be great to see him, but I don’t look forward to competing against him because he’s a terrific player.”

Harris plans to be all business once he gets in the game and won’t be thinking about any reception from the fans.

“Once I hit the court I’m just really thinking about the game and how I can impact it,” Harris said. “We can shake hands and do all that after the game, but once I hit the court my focus is on trying to win a game.”

Harris, who played 540 of his 898 career NBA games for the Mavs, would love to treat this like this is just another game. But in his heart of hearts, he knows it’s not.

“Obviously you’re going against a team you’ve been with for a while, obviously you know a lot about them (and) try to use that in the game,” Harris said. “Most importantly is to win the game, but guys are like family for a while.

“(It will) be a little weird. But like I said it’s still a business and our goal is to come in here and get a win.”

The Mavs and Harris are so joined at the hip that he started his career with Dallas (2004-’08) and then came back and played for the Mavs again from 2013 until the recent trade.

“I don’t want to get too sentimental about it, but he’s one of my favorite guys I’ve ever coached just because of his commitment to the franchise (and) his unbending commitment to team,” Carlisle said. “He and (J.J.) Barea had a great chemistry out there.

“Both of those guys are such great playmakers. They made everybody around them better.”

While Harris obviously had put down some serious roots in Dallas, he knows the Mavs at least traded him to a team that’s in position to qualify for the playoffs.

“Yeah, they put me in a great situation to be able to go out and compete for a playoff spot,” Harris said. “These guys have done a great job of winning a lot of games since I’ve been here.

“I’m excited for the opportunity and it’s been good for me.”

While Carlisle is excited for the opportunity for Harris, he sounded like the Mavs haven’t seen the last of the 14-year veteran. Especially since Harris becomes a free agent on July 1.

“We miss him a lot,” Carlisle said. “But who knows?

“Maybe some day we’ll see him again here. You never know.”

Notes: The Mavericks continue their four-game home stand tonight at 7:30 p.m. CT against the Denver Nuggets, who lead the season series 2-1. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest and broadcast on radio at 103.3 FM ESPN. The game also will be broadcast in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. . .Tickets remain available and can be purchased at Mavs.com or by calling 214-747-MAVS.

Injury updates
Seth Curry (left leg surgery) – out
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) – out
Wesley Matthews (left hip injury) — out

DALLAS – In dissecting Tuesday’s home game against Denver, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki noticed one key ingredient about the Nuggets.

“Denver is a tough team,” Nowitzki said. “For us they’re athletic, they’re fast all over the place, they’ve got a lot of athletes and they’re a tough matchup for us.

“But we’ve got to play hard and not turn the ball over against them and try to force them as much as we can into a halfcourt game.”

The Mavs (19-45) and Nuggets (35-28) will tip off Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center with Dallas hoping to even the season series at 2-2.

Ironically, the Mavs are probably beating themselves up after they realized they could easily be staring at a possible 4-0 sweep of the Nuggets.

In a Dec. 4 contest in Dallas, the Mavs never trailed in scooting past the Nuggets, 122-105, behind 22 points from Harrison Barnes and 20 from rookie Dennis Smith Jr. The Mavs were very focused in that contest, considering they jumped out to a commanding 39-23 lead at the end of the first quarter.

However, after that game the Mavs lost a three-point contest and a two-point contest to the Nuggets in Denver. Thus, it’s easy to sense the frustrations the Mavs are sensing whenever they face the Nuggets.

“They run through (center Nikola) Yokic, but they’ve got a lot of guys who can get hot and get it going, that move, that cut,” Barnes said. “They play really well together as a team.

“So they’re always difficult to play and it’ll be another good test for us to go out there and try to compete.”

Jokic ran roughshod over the Mavs when he collected 29 points and a season-high 18 rebounds in the Nuggets’ 105-102 win over Dallas on Jan. 16.

Some 13 days later, the same two teams met again in the mile high air of Denver and the Nuggets eked out a slim 91-89 victory. Jokic was the star of the game again for Denver as he pieced together a triple-double – 11 points, 16 rebounds, 11 assists.

The Mavs led by nine points in the fourth quarter of that game, but squandered the lead. Still, the Mavs had a chance to get out of town with a win, however, Wesley Matthews misfired on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Dallas enters this game with 14 losses in its last 17 games, including this past Sunday’s 126-109 setback to the New Orleans Pelicans. Nowitzki scored a season-high 23 points against the Pelicans.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets have posted an impressive 9-3 record since Feb. 1. That includes a pair of wins over San Antonio – 117-109 and 122-119 – and head-scratching victories over Golden State (115-108), Oklahoma City (127-124), and this past Saturday in Cleveland (126-117).

Still, the Mavs hope they’ve found the magic touch to silence the Nuggets.

Barnes tops all Mavs scorers (18.5) and rebounders (6.4), Smith averages 15 points and 4.9 assists, and J.J. Barea is averaging 11.5 points and a team-high 6.2 assists.

For the Nuggets, Gary Harris (17.9 points) and Jokic (16.9 points, 10.5 rebounds) are the table setters. They also can roll out former Mavs guard Devin Harris, who has averaged six points in 17 minutes while playing eight games since Dallas traded him to Denver on Feb. 8.

The Nuggets have so many other players who are 3-point marksmen or can constantly attack the basket. That’s why Denver is seeded eighth in the Western Conference standings, but surprisingly are just two games behind third-seeded Portland.

“They’re really, really good once all of their guards get on the break,” Nowitzki said. “They’re really, really tough to guard.

“They’re coming off a great win in Cleveland. They’re all playing well together and they’re all shooting the ball well, so another challenge.”

Notes: The Mavericks continue their four-game home stand Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. CT against the Denver Nuggets, who lead the season series 2-1. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest and broadcast on radio at 103.3 FM ESPN. The game also will be broadcast in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. . .Tickets remain available and can be purchased at Mavs.com or by calling 214-747-MAVS.

Injury updates
Seth Curry (left leg surgery) – out
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) – out
Wesley Matthews (left hip injury) — questionable