The Fast Break: Mavs at Nuggets

Final: Nuggets 105, Mavs 102

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

Dennis Smith Jr. recorded his ninth consecutive double-digit scoring game. It’s the longest such streak by any Mavs rookie since Marquis Daniels did it 11 straight times late in the 2003-04 season. (Smith’s also had stretches of eight and seven games at different times this season.) One more game with 10+ points and Junior will become just the ninth rookie in franchise history with 10 straight with 10 or more. He has no chance to break the record, though: Jay Vincent scored in double-figures a whopping 65 straight times during the 1981-82 season. That truly is a Mavs record that might never be broken.

Smith ended up with 25 points, his eighth game this season with 20-plus this season. With one more, he’ll tie Jason Kidd and Jim Jackson, who had nine apiece in 1994-95 and 1992-93, respectively. He was phenomenal, particularly in transition.

The Mavericks trailed 99-83 late in the fourth quarter but used a 14-2 run to pull to within 101-97 with under two minutes to go. They eventually pulled to within one point with 10 seconds left. This team does not go down without a fight.

Notebook

  • An injury to a reserve player typically doesn’t lead to a change in the starting lineup, but the Mavs have always done things a little differently. With J.J. Barea out with a left groin strain and Yogi Ferrell having started the last couple games, Dallas would have running short on playmakers off the bench if it stuck with the usual group. Rick Carlisle’s solution was to return back to the old starting lineup, replacing Ferrell with Maxi Kleber and reuniting the second-year guard with Devin Harris in the second unit. That put a little more responsibility on those guys’ shoulders, not only to replacing Barea’s scoring but also his playmaking to keep everyone involved. Devin Harris was able to hook up with Dwight Powell for an impressive dunk. (More on his scoring later.)

    Barea hopes to play Saturday against Portland, and fortunately the Mavericks have three days off until that game to get Barea up and running and treat any other aches and pains they have after a quick first half of the season. Three off days in between games will be their longest break in between games all season, and they won’t have another break this long (aside from the All-Star break) until March.

  • Devin Harris had one of his finest scoring nights of the season, pouring in 16 points in 18 minutes off the bench. It was one point off his season-high mark of 17, set on Dec. 29 against New Orleans. Harris has quietly been shooting the ball brilliantly as of late, after an inauspicious 19-game run from early November through mid-December during which he shot just 30.6 percent from beyond the arc. In the 13 games since, he’s shooting above 42 percent from 3-point land. No matter what he himself shoots, the team tends to play better when he’s on the floor than when he’s off. But when he’s shooting as well as he has been, understandably it makes him that much more valuable. Dallas is 6-7 in those 13 games and just 9-23 in the 32 preceding contests.

  • Maxi Kleber had an opportunity at extended minutes tonight for the first time since being replaced in the starting lineup, and he was able to take advantage of that time by making a couple nice highlight plays in the second half. First, he had a pretty emphatic block.

    The cool thing about this play is that, just seconds earlier, he committed a turnover. Instead of compounding one mistake with another by not getting back on defense, Kleber hustled back and made a play. A couple minutes later, karma rewarded him with his efforts by giving him a chance to throw down a vicious alley-oop dunk.

    More of that, big fella!

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (15-30) will play the Portland Trail Blazers (22-21 on Saturday at the Moda Center at 9 p.m. Central.