Game 70: Mavs vs. Nuggets

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Nuggets vs. Mavericks

Monta Ellis (26 points, seven assists) leads all scorers as the Mavericks beat the Grizzlies 122-106.

DALLAS — Seeing their three-game win streak come to an end Wednesday night following a 123-122 overtime defeat against Minnesota, the Dallas Mavericks returned to their home floor 48 hours later with a daunting task in front of them.

Playing the third game of their current eight-game homestand, the Mavericks hoped to finally get the better of the Denver Nuggets after three losses earlier in the season. The Mavs also tried to capture a much-needed win to widen their 1 1/2-game lead over Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.

And with seven Mavericks (42-28) scoring in double figures during a balanced effort the Dallas team got back on track while exacting revenge for the previous losses, moving to 2-1 on the homestand following a 122-106 win.

“I don’t think it was the three losses (to Denver) that we took. I think we felt like we had to bounce back from the game the other night and from the overtime loss,” starting shooting guard Monta Ellis said of the win. “We want to stay on that pace and heading in that direction where we get 50 wins and try to get a great seed in the West.”

After falling behind by 22 in the first half Wednesday night, the Mavericks hoped to get off to a fast start. Point guard Jose Calderon’s rejection of Nuggets big man Kenneth Faried on the opening possession would set the tone. The Mavs then received a brief scare when sixth man Vince Carter headed to the locker room with a dislocated right pinkie finger, returning a short time later. But, despite Carter’s best efforts off the bench, the Mavericks trailed 29-26 after the first quarter.

With Carter once again in the locker room having his injured finger re-taped, the Mavs would stage a rally to gain the upper hand early in the second stanza. Second-year standout Jae Crowder then filled Carter’s void, catching fire from behind the 3-point arc as the Mavericks surged ahead by double digits.

“I thought Crowder in the first half — coming in and hitting the four 3s and being active defensively — really gave us a boost when Vince went out,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle later said. “Jae’s stint out there was big for us. We were able to get scoring and defense while Vince was getting fixed up.”

And after backup big man Brandan Wright’s interior play boosted the Mavs at both ends of the court, 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki lent some assistance to help the home team slid into the halftime intermission with a 61-53 advantage.

Led by Crowder’s 12 first-half points on 4-of-4 shooting from behind the arc, the Mavericks held the lead while Denver’s 46.7 percent from the field as a team bettered Dallas’ 44 percent. The Mavs also used a 29-22 rebounding edge to their advantage through two quarters of play.

After missing all seven of his 3-point attempts Wednesday night, Nowitzki opened the second half with a vintage triple from near the top of the key. The Mavericks also benefitted from a technical foul on Faried early in the third quarter, getting a lift from Ellis’ relentless attack towards the rim.

Denver then turned to the backcourt of Ty Lawson and Randy Foye to stay in the game. But the Mavericks countered by upping the lead to as many as 17 with a heavy dose of Nowitzki and Carter, who played through his finger injury to lead Dallas into the fourth with a 90-78 edge.

With his team unable to put the Nuggets (31-38) away early in the game’s final period, Carlisle was forced to burn a timeout after J.J. Hickson trimmed Dallas’ lead to 95-86 with 9:18 left to play. Nuggets sharpshooter Evan Fournier then inched the visitors even closer, leading Carlisle to burn another timeout after sinking a 3-pointer to make it a 97-91 score with 7:32 on the clock.

Nowitzki then tried to intervene after the Nuggets crept to within three, connecting on a vintage fadeaway jumper. The Mavericks shared the offensive responsibilities from there, regaining a double-digit lead as Wright found four-time All-Star forward Shawn Marion for a slam to go up 109-99 with 3:57 remaining.

And with Nowitzki resting on the bench, Ellis then closed the Nuggets out a short time later with an array of perimeter scores to lift the Mavs to the win down the stretch before Carlisle sat his top contributors in the final moments.

Scoring 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting, Ellis led seven Mavs in double figures while also dishing out seven assists. Nowitzki added 21 points in the first unit on 9-of-15 shooting while Marion pitched in 14 points and seven boards. Off the bench, Wright and Carter finished with 13 points apiece. Meanwhile, Crowder scored 12 points in a reserve role and Calderon added 10 points at the point.

“I thought it was a solid team effort all the way across the board,” Nowitzki said. “Everybody was playing well … and Monta did a heck of a job there closing us out. I mean, they were still kind of hanging around and down 10 or eight is nothing in this league. And then Monta just got hot, drove a couple of shots and put it away.”

“There was some fatigue that set in and some heavy legs. But, at the same time, we took their punch and we were able to come down the stretch, execute on offense and get some defensive stops. And that was the biggest thing for us,” Ellis added.

Hickson led five Nuggets in double figures with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting off the bench, but the Mavericks’ 53.9 percent as a team bettered Denver’s 49.4 percent at the other end. The Mavs also collected a 48-35 rebounding advantage, overcoming 22 points scored off their 16 turnovers.

“I mean, that’s the way we have to play,” Carter concluded. “I think we did a great job of just turning up our level of intensity and really focusing in on our defensive scheme. We rebounded, kept them off the glass and kept them out of transition. I mean, all of the things we needed to do we did it tonight and we hit shots. … We played well throughout the course of the game, established a lead and we were able to sustain it, even though they made a run.”

Note: The Mavericks will return to action at American Airlines Center on Sunday, hosting the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn leads the season series 1-0 after handing the Mavs a 107-106 road defeat back on Jan. 24. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 6:30 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 31 3-6 0-2 0-0 0 4 4 5 1 0 1 2 -16 6
K. Faried, F 21 2-10 0-0 2-2 2 3 5 3 3 1 1 2 -5 6
T. Mozgov, C 13 2-3 0-0 3-3 2 2 4 1 0 1 0 4 9 7
R. Foye, G 27 5-10 5-8 0-0 1 2 3 1 1 0 1 1 -6 15
T. Lawson, G 38 6-12 3-5 2-3 0 1 1 9 0 0 7 1 -12 17
J. Hickson 23 8-12 0-0 2-9 3 5 8 0 2 0 2 2 -18 18
A. Randolph 16 4-7 2-4 0-0 0 6 6 0 0 0 0 3 -4 10
D. Arthur 27 4-6 1-2 2-2 1 1 2 2 0 1 2 1 -11 11
E. Fournier 18 2-6 1-4 2-2 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 2 -1 7
A. Brooks 21 3-7 0-3 0-0 1 0 1 2 0 0 1 1 -18 6
Q. Miller 1 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 3
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
N. Robinson 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Vesely 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   40-81 13-30 13-21 10 25 35 24 8 4 16 19   106
    49.4% 43.3%                      

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All Stats

S. Marion, F 32 7-11 0-1 0-0 2 5 7 3 2 0 0 0 11 14
D. Nowitzki, F 28 9-15 1-2 2-3 0 6 6 1 2 1 1 4 7 21
S. Dalembert, C 16 1-6 0-0 2-2 7 3 10 0 1 1 3 0 -4 4
M. Ellis, G 33 11-14 2-4 2-2 0 4 4 7 1 0 5 4 12 26
J. Calderon, G 26 4-9 2-4 0-0 0 4 4 6 0 1 1 1 7 10
D. Blair 11 0-3 0-0 2-4 3 1 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 2
V. Carter 24 5-12 3-5 0-0 0 3 3 4 2 1 0 2 9 13
D. Harris 24 1-5 0-1 5-5 0 2 2 3 1 0 3 0 13 7
J. Crowder 17 4-4 4-4 0-0 1 3 4 1 1 0 2 2 11 12
B. Wright 20 6-9 0-0 1-1 1 2 3 3 0 1 0 3 20 13
W. Ellington 1 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 0
S. Larkin 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 -2 0
B. James 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 -2 0
R. Ledo 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
G. Mekel 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   48-89 12-22 14-17 15 33 48 28 11 5 16 18   122
    53.9% 54.5%                      

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One-on-One with Monta Ellis

Mavs G Monta Ellis, who led all scorers with 26, comments on how he was able to step up and close out the Nuggets Friday night.


Postgame: Dirk Nowitzki

Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki says Friday's win over Denver was a total team effort and looks forward to Sunday's game against the Nets with his old friend Jason Kidd back in Dallas.


One-on-One with Brandan Wright

Mavs F Brandan Wright weighs in on his solid performance against the Nuggets, how well the pick-and-roll has been working and more.


Straight Down the Line

Monta Ellis squeezes between two defenders and gets it to Brandan Wright who finds Shawn Marion down low for the jam.


Harris to Wright

Devin Harris drives and lobs it to Brandan Wright for the alley-oop layup.


Third Most Famous Flying Wright

Vince Carter feeds Brandan Wright as he slips into the lane for the flush.


Shootaround: Devin Harris

Mavs G Devin Harris says it's vital to get off to a good start against the Nuggets and keep them out of the paint Friday night.


Shootaround: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach discusses the challenges the Nuggets present and says the team needs to "be on and be in a fighting mode" tonight.

DALLAS — After suffering three losses already this season at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, the Dallas Mavericks know they can’t afford another defeat Friday night as the two squads conclude the season series.

Looking to avoid the sweep, the Mavericks (41-28) will take the court for the third outing of their current eight-game homestand against a Nuggets team that has won back-to-back games. Meanwhile, the Mavs will try to get off to a fast start after quickly falling behind by 22 points in the first half of Wednesday’s 123-122 overtime loss to Minnesota.

“Our activity level has not been where it needs to be, and I’ve just got to prepare them better,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said while accepting responsibility for his team’s rash of slow starts. “I guess I’ve got to take it upon myself as a responsibility, and so we’ve got to be on and we’ve got to be in a fighting mode from the very beginning of games. You know, some nights we are pretty good that way but then the speed of teams can be a big factor and make it look like we’re not playing hard. … We’ve got to be playing hard, communicating and doing it for 48 minutes in a row.”

Sitting percentage points behind Memphis for the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings, the Mavs will try to make up ground with a win Friday night. Meanwhile, with just 13 games left on the schedule entering Friday’s contest, the Mavericks will try to avoid another slip-up after having their three-game win streak snapped following the loss to Minnesota.

And with just a 1 1/2-game lead on Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff position, the Mavericks also admit that they must take care of business against the Nuggets (31-37) on their home floor, especially with battles against three straight playoff-contending teams looming.

“We know if we take care of what we need to take care of the standings will take care of themselves,” reserve guard Devin Harris said. “Obviously, we know teams are still fighting behinds us and in the West a game or two games can change much. But, if we take care of our business, we’ll be right where we want to be.”  


DALLAS — Coming out sluggishly and seeing their three-game win streak end Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Dallas Mavericks admittedly let an opportunity pass by while falling to a 123-122 overtime defeat.

Overcoming a 22-point deficit in the first half and extending the game into an extra period, the Mavericks (41-28) would run out of steam late to slip to 1-1 on their current eight-game homestand. Now, with a Denver Nuggets squad that’s 3-0 against the Mavs this season set to invade American Airlines Center on Friday, the Dallas team will try to get off to a better start on its home floor.

“They came out and struck first, and we were playing catch-up the rest of the game,” forward Shawn Marion said of Wednesday’s loss. “We got it tied and had the lead for a little bit, but we weren’t able to close it out. We were able to fight and get it to overtime, but we just weren’t able to close it out and get the win.”

“We’ve got to do better than what we did (Wednesday night),” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added. “The start to the game was poor and our last three losses are very similar. We were very poor at the beginning of the Denver game at Denver, we were very poor at the beginning of the Golden State game at Golden State and (Wednesday) was the same. It’s a 48-minute game and the momentum that you establish early carries through. This sport and this game of NBA basketball is as much a first-quarter game as it is a fourth-quarter game. You know, when you win the first quarter, it really increases your chances to take a lead into the fourth quarter, which is a great indicator of winning in this league. And when you lose a first quarter your chances of doing that go exponentially down, so the start of the game is key and then we’ve got to carry through. In the recent games that we’ve played well, a lot of them against better teams, we’ve done that and our losses have had the same characteristics, so we’ve got to correct that.”

In addition to slow starts, the Mavericks have struggled in three losses to the Nuggets (31-37) this season to contain point guard Ty Lawson, who has averaged 19.7 points and 9.0 assists against the Dallas defense. But, with Lawson missing Denver’s 118-109 home win Wednesday over Detroit due to an illness, the Mavericks could face a new challenge in the form of Aaron Brooks following his 27-point, 17-assist outing against the Pistons.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks will try to get 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki on track following his 11-of-27 shooting performance in the loss to Minnesota, finishing with a team-high 27 points but missing all seven of his 3-point attempts while misfiring on a potential game-winning jumper in the final seconds of overtime. And with just a 1 1/2-game lead over Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff spot, the Mavs will try to reestablish a home-court advantage in order to avoid a season series sweep.

Note: The Mavericks will return to action at American Airlines Center Friday, hosting the Denver Nuggets. Denver leads the season series 3-0. 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