Mavericks (3-4) at Denver Nuggets (3-4)

Time: 9 p.m., Thursday

Place: Ball Arena, Denver


Radio: ESPN 103.3 FM; Univision 1270 AM (Spanish)

About the Mavericks: The Mavs are coming off Monday’s 113-100 victory at Houston. Luka Doncic collected 33 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists against the Rockets. Tim Hardaway Jr. came off the bench for the first time this season and contributed a season-high 30 points. Hardaway was 11-of-14 from the field and 8-of-10 from 3-point land. . .Willie Cauley-Stein started his first game of the season against the Rockets and contributed a season-high 15 points and a season-high seven rebounds. . .Guard Trey Burke is not with the team due to an illness. . .The Mavs have been focusing a lot on defense this season and it appears to be working – to a certain degree. Coach Rick Carlisle said: “We just got to decide that the defensive end is where our bread is buttered. In the three games that we’ve won we’re holding teams to an average of 85, and in the (four) games we’ve lost we’re giving up 120. There’s no doubt that a commitment to the defensive end is where it’s at for us. We just got to be steadfast about it.”. .Doncic is averaging 25.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg and 7.2 apg, Hardaway averages 17 ppg, Jason Richardson is averaging 13.7 ppg and Jalen Brunson averages 11.7 ppg . . . The Mavericks are 2 1/2-point underdogs, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers.

About the Nuggets: One of the surprise teams of the NBA last season, the Nuggets lost four of their first five games this season before winning their last two against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Jamal Murray tallied 36 points, and Nikola Jokic added 19 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists as the Nuggets upended the Timberwolves, 124-109, this past Sunday. . .During Tuesday’s 123-116 victory over the Timberwolves, Jokic contributed 35 points, 15 rebounds and six assists, and Will Barton scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds. . .Jokic has been a very dominant force again this season. The seven-foot center is averaging 24.1 ppg and is fifth in the NBA in rebounds (11.7 rpg) and first in assists (11.9 apg). . .Murray is averaging 22.2 ppg. . .The Nuggets had a very successful season last year when they reached the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers in five games. . .Coach Rick Carlisle said of the Nuggets: “Denver is a team that has similarities to us. They’re still very young, they’re still looking to continue to move up. This is another really challenging road game for us.”. .The Nuggets are averaging 117 ppg, but are giving up 116 ppg.

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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