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Game Recap: Mavericks Dig Out Win Against Nuggets 104-96

The hardened Mavericks defense gets a real test against Denver’s league-leading offense to start off the road trip.  Even with Chauncey Billups not available for the game the Denver Nuggets still have a host of weapons anchored by Carmelo Anthony who currently leads the league in scoring. 

A victory in this game would add another signature win to an already excellent Mavericks road record, as well as demonstrate how well the Maverick defense can hold up on the second day of a back-to-back. 

Does the team rise to the challenge or are they just too tired to compete?  

Game as a Whole:

This is as complete of a team performance as one can ask for out of a professional basketball team.  Another night removed from Dirk calling out his teammates for their lack of play making down the stretch and the Mavericks pull out another great win without a big contribution from him.  

You know the team is in a good place when seven players are in double figures and Drew Gooden is the player that is pacing the team with 19 points.  The biggest winner tonight was the Dallas bench as they trounced their Denver counterparts to the tune of 49 points and 35 rebounds (Denver couldn’t even muster half the points).  It may be a bit too early to state that the Mavericks playoff demons are excised but they are surely playing like they have something to prove.  

Let’s look at the quarters…

1st Quarter:
  • 11:57, Dallas starts with the ball and Dirk gets to take the first shot tonight.  He hits a short bank shot.  Let’s see if Barea takes the next shot.  
  • Good foul from Dirk on Kenyon Martin as he only gets 1 of 2.  
  • 11:10, Marion rushes another shot under the basket.  
  • 10:33, Dampier tries to take a quick turnaround shot but misses in close. 
  • 10:05, Barea hits an early three in the corner.  Came off of some excellent ball movement by the rest of the Mavericks. 
  • 8:58, Bad transition defense by the team as they left a shooter wide open.  
  • 8:25, Marion goes behind his back to put up a layup.  
  • Arron Afflalo is on fire right now.  Someone needs to guard him as he has Denver’s last 8 points.  
  • 7:37, Great choice by Rick Carlisle to take a timeout.  The whole team has come out uninspired.  
  • 6:55, The Mavericks are getting beat on the fast break.  The Nuggets were on a 16-2 run. 
  • 6:15, Dampier gets a nice feed from Barea in close and finishes.  
  • 6:06, Terry comes in for Barea.  He really needs to get going early tonight.  
  • 5:49, Spinning fade-away from Nowitzki over Martin.  The Nuggets usually double Dirk but it seems like they are letting Martin take him one on one tonight. 
  • 5:24, Marion takes another quick shot in the paint but this time it falls.  Marion doesn’t seem comfortable on offense. 
  • 4:46, Dampier is on a fastbreak by himself and you would think he throws down a thunderous dunk but instead he tries a layup?  Of course, he blows the layup but gets fouled after the fact.  
  • 4:17, Jason Kidd hits the banker but the Nuggets push the ball down the floor.   The Nuggets want to try to out-hustle the Mavericks tonight.  
  • 3:39, Josh Howard gets fouled on an attempted put back basket.  Drew Gooden is available for tonight’s game (Dallas needs his energy tonight).  
  • 3:11, Josh Howard hits a 17-footer to give the Mavericks the lead.  Drew Gooden blocks a Chris Andersen shot attempt. 
  • 2:03, The Nuggets are gambling a lot on defense.  If the Mavericks continue to keep up the ball movement they should be able to take a big lead.  
  • 1:25, Carmelo Anthony is frustrated as he takes it into the paint hoping to get a foul (he gets rewarded with a travel instead).  
  • 1:14, Back-to-back buckets for Drew Gooden (one baby hook and a 13-foot jump shot).  If he starts hitting the jump shot regularly tonight it can force Nene to come out of the paint.   
  • :33.2, Six turnovers for the Nuggets in this quarter.  The Mavericks ratcheted up the defensive intensity after they got down by seven.  
2nd Quarter:
  • Dirk got a very long rest in the first quarter (over 4 minutes).  That’s going to be very valuable in the fourth quarter.  
  • 11:33, Drew Gooden is determined to score inside tonight.  Throws a very nice spin move on two defenders (fails to convert an "and 1") to score. 
  • 11:22, Denver’s first two trips down the floor have been offensive fouls. 
  • 10:27, Barea flips the ball up over Nene for the score.  He was trying to get the ball to Gooden on a pick and roll. 
  • I respect Barea’s offensive ability but I still think he has a long way to go when it comes to getting other guys the ball in their spots.  He doesn’t look comfortable running the offense.  
  • 8:39, Terry hits the open jumper off the curl.  That is his first make of the contest.  
  • 8:15, He quickly comes back with another layup to give the Mavericks a nine-point lead. 
  • Denver has a lot of trust in Ty Lawson (he gets the start over the veteran Anthony Carter).  Chauncey Billups is in street clothes tonight.  
  • 6:49, Jason Terry is at the foul line.  He is taking over the game (reminiscent of last nights performance).  
  • 6:38, Dirk gets caught in the paint for a defensive three-second violation.  
  • 6:18, Josh Howard scores on a turn around.  Look for Howard to start in place of Marion pretty soon as he is scoring better than Marion and his defense has been stellar as of late.  
  • 5:43, Another "and 1" for Drew Gooden off of some nice passing from Josh Howard.  
  • 5:16, Barea hits a short jump shot to put the Mavericks up by 11.  The defensive play that got them the ball was also pretty good.  The Mavericks ran a second defender (Drew Gooden) at J.R. Smith late as he was taking the shot.  
  • 4:09, Drew Gooden gets more foul shots as he is pushed down while screening for Dirk. 
  • 3:32, Mavericks passed up a couple of open jump shots and instead choose to push it straight into the paint (Josh Howard gets fouled).  
  • 1:57, Dirk pulls out the rarely used hook shot from his bag of tricks. 
  • 1:18, Jason Terry puts the Mavericks back up by ten with a medium range jumper.  Every time it looks like Denver is poised to go on a run the Mavericks respond with two or three straight buckets.                          
  • The Nuggets trim an 11-point lead to three on a few transition buckets.

3rd Quarter:
  • Denver starts another quarter with an offensive foul.  

  • 11:05, Erick Dampier gets a wide-open dunk.  You couldn’t find a Nuggets defender within 15 feet of him.  

  • 10:34, Erick Dampier gets a trip to the line thanks to Carmelo Anthony (that’s his third foul).  

  • 9:57, Carmelo Anthony picks up his fourth foul but doesn’t go to the bench.  

  • 9:20, Marion finally converts under the basket.  He didn’t look like he rushed that shot.  

  • I don’t think that Camerlo has made anything outside of ten feet tonight. 

  • 8:48, A great ball fake by Barea completely freezes Kenyon Martin on the defensive end.  Props also go to Erick Dampier for a perfect pass to set the whole play up.  

  • 7:52, Marion is posting up a ton tonight.  Makes his second post score in a row.  

  • 7:03, Kidd actually tries to go coast-to-coast.  When was the last time anyone saw that?  

  • 6:38, Marion makes a quick and decisive move to the basket for the score.  He needs to try to make move of those moves.  

  • 5:13, Barea rifles another pass into Erick Dampier.  Dampier gets the foul and the score in the paint.  I hope Dampier got Barea something nice for Christmas so he keeps feeding him the ball like that. 

  • 4:44, Marion gets a wide-open dunk as Kidd rotates to the basket.

  • The second team comes in and commits back-to-back turnovers.  Rick Carlisle has to take a timeout.

  • 3:21, Jason Terry takes a three from a mile out and IT FALLS.  

  • 3:04, J.R. Smith initially gets a flagrant two on a elbow to Jason Terry’s face but the officials downgrade it to merely an offensive foul.  I guarantee you Mark Cuban is going to ask the league to look at that one. 

  • 2:54, Josh Howard attacks the rim for the foul but only hits one of two.   

  • 1:52, Josh Howard has a huge smile as he hits the short range jump with a foot in the paint.  The Denver Nuggets are struggling for everything that isn’t a fast break bucket. 

  • :55.6, When it’s your day, it’s your day.  Drew Gooden throws up the prayer without even looking at the basket and it goes in.  Gooden is five for five from the floor.

  • Keyon Martin air balls a three pointer to end a horrid quarter for the Nuggets. 

4th Quarter:
  • 11:44, Dirk is the designated screener for a Jason Terry "J".
  • Really nervous that J.R. Smith is going to get hot and start making a ton of buckets. 
  • 10:06, Nene bails out Jason Terry with a blocking foul.  
  • 10:02, Carmelo Anthony picks up his fifth foul by pushing Josh Howard in the lane.  Way to take yourself out of the game, Carmelo.  
  • 9:32, Afflalo takes a desperation three a little early.  He misses it so badly that it looks like a pass. 
  • 9:06, Barea abuses Chris Andersen with a fade away jumper.
  • 8:30, Chris Andersen pushes Barea down on the next play so that he doesn’t get a blow-by layup.  He obviously did it to send a message. 
  • 8:23, Rick Carlisle is the master of timeout plays.  Josh Howard gets another score.  Denver throws up another air ball. 
  • 7:45, Offensive rebound and put-back for Drew Gooden, he is putting together a complete game tonight. 
  • 7:22, Carmelo has to come back in the game with five fouls.  Denver is going to push hard right here. 
  • 6:28, You cannot play better fast break defense than Josh Howard just played in denying Anthony Carter a layup.  Drew Gooden, who committed the turnover, gets a redemption rebound.
  • 5:53, Drew Gooden looks like Dirk Nowitzki tonight whereas Dirk looks like a bench player (a nice role reversal).  
  • 4:47, Dirk hits a clutch two pointer to give him 11 for the night.  J.R. Smith couldn’t contest the jumper any better than he did.
  • It’s turning into a shootout now
  • 4:11, Josh Howard gets to the center of the floor and hits a turn around teardrop. 
  • Don’t know why the Mavericks aren’t taking it hard at Carmelo every play to get him his sixth foul.  They should want him out of the game. 
  • The refs are starting to give this game to the Nuggets.  Every play into the paint for Denver is resulting in a foul.  Dallas just needs two more baskets and one stop to close out the game. 
  • 2:47, Carmelo Anthony fouls out by pushing Josh Howard (for a second time).  Two foul shots for Howard.
  • 1:46, Gooden’s energy has saved the game for us.  Gets a big rebound and then he takes it right to the rim on the offensive end for the foul. 
  • 1:43, Dirk soars in for a big rebound.  
  • 1:19, Drew Gooden adds to his point total with a tip in.  
  • :50.5, On a slow offensive night for Dirk he still hits the dagger three and then shows the Denver crowd the jersey just for fun. 

Some Choice Statistics:

  • Only Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, and JJ Barea have played in all 30 games this season.  
  • Erick Dampier has almost a 70% Field Goal percentage this season.  
  • If you take stock in RPI, Dallas is currently ranked fifth in the league (it’s a formula that takes into account wins and strength of schedule). 

Closing Thoughts:

If you want a glimpse into how badly the Mavericks want to win look no further than the last ten seconds of tonight’s game.  Even as the Mavericks were on their way to an 8-point victory they still wouldn’t give up an open layup or offensive rebound to Ty Lawson.