On a Western Conference road trip, the Dallas Mavericks rolled into Denver and fought tooth and nail despite a depleted lineup before losing 114-107. Ty Lawson torched the Mavericks, scoring 29 points, dishing out 12 assists, and grabbing 5 rebounds. J.J. Barea led the Mavs with 17 points and 6 assists.
Dallas elected to sit Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler and Rajon Rondo after an overtime victory the night before. Rick Carlisle apparently decided the veterans had a earned a night off against a team they will see again Friday night at the American Airlines Center.
Starting a line up featuring the rarely used Raymond Felton at point guard, the Mavericks managed to keep pace with the Denver Nuggets for most of the period. Without a true shot blocker on either team, both the Nuggets and Dallas drove the lane and attacked the paint relentlessly. Rookie center Jusuf Nurkic and Greg Smith engaged in a number of battles early, with Smith managing to hold his own.
Richard Jefferson was out-matched in both size and athleticism guarding Kenneth Faried. Yet the Mavericks managed to hold on, storming back to tie the game with a line up of J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, Al-Farouq Aminu, Charlie Villanueva, and Dwight Powell. Dallas went cold to end the period as Devin Harris missed both ends of a two-for-one series of possessions. The Mavericks trailed 28-24 heading into the second quarter.
The second period featured more of the same, with Maverick small ball line ups causing enough havoc. Rookie Dwight Powell also did this to Kenneth Faried:
But the bigger Denver Nuggets would keep ahead of Dallas, retaking the advantage throughout the quarter with timely putbacks. Dallas failed to capitalize on a number of the Nugget turnovers. Monta Ellis, who played 40 minutes last night, looked tired, shooting 1-8 in the first half. The Mavericks trailed entering the half, 59-50.
The third period saw things nearly unravel for Dallas before the bench unit brought Dallas back within striking distance. Monta Ellis continued to struggle, forcing drives and jumpers. The Nuggets capitalized on the lack of shot blocker, attacking Richard Jefferson through Kenneth Faried. The Nuggets pushed their nine-point lead up to 19 halfway through the quarter. J.J. Barea and Devin Harris settled things a bit, whittling the lead down to as few as eight points before Denver retook command of the game, ending the quarter ahead 90-78.
The final period started off in frustrating fashion, with multiple misses at the rim by Dallas. However, the Mavericks managed to get into the free throw bonus early, drawing five defensive fouls in the first two and a half minutes. With Denver boasting a 15-point lead the Mavericks faced a massive up hill battle. Richard Jefferson connected on an open three, then a trap resulted in a steal and open court flush for Aminu. After a few scoreless possessions, Raymond Felton attacked the paint and got a phantom foul call (he fell over on a spin) and hit both free throws.
Parsons missed a wide open three on the next possession, but the Nuggets were unable to convert. Parsons got the ball in transition and scored a lay up. Aaron Afflalo hit an open jumper after the timeout, but Richard Jefferson connected on an open three. Dallas cut the lead to four after another Nugget turnover, but Ty Lawson put an end to the bleeding with a jumper and free throw. Parsons responded with a drive of his own from the left wing to pull Dallas within five. After an Afflalo offensive foul, Parsons scored on an open 17 footer off a pick and roll.
Following a Ty Lawson miss Devin Harris had a chance to tie the game, but missed his fifth three point attempt. The Nuggets missed another three and Dallas nearly scored off a pick and roll with Harris and Powell. Powell was "blocked" at the rim by Faried (he was hit in the face, it was a foul). Dallas had one more chance to get a shot off and Harris air-balled his sixth three of the evening
From there, the Nuggets took control, with Faried getting fouled on one possession and hitting free throws, then getting a drive to fall. Dallas would attempt to scrape it's way back into the game, but simply did not have enough time. Dallas fell to the Nuggets 114-107.
- This was basically a schedule loss. The guys fought hard with an undersized line up and I'm pretty impressed.
- The only thing that irks me is the volume of threes shot. Getting a team into the bonus like Dallas did is awesome, but then continuing to chuck threes is not. 9 for 37 from deep is God awful. Every player but Greg Smith attempted at least one. Attack the rim!
- Dwight Powell! He was everywhere in this game and battled hard despite his thin frame. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but in his short stint in Dallas I'd say he has the look of a rotation player down the road. Pretty sweet for a toss in to the Rondo trade deal.
- Raymond Felton! He played! The world didn't end!
- Nuggets rookie Jusuf Nurkic is huge. His family is in America for the first time this week and they kept showing his family. His father is 7 feet tall and weighs 400 pounds.
- The Nuggets color commentator is atrocious. He whined the whole game and was uneducated about a number of the Mavericks. It was sort of sad. HOWEVER, injured Nuggets player Danilo Gallinari sat with them in the first half and he was fantastic on the mic covering the game. Even commentary and smart analysis. We can forget it sometimes, but these players know the game really well.
- Devin Harris and the 2-for-1 crap must stop.
- I appreciate Monta's willingness to battle, but it was good of Carlisle to have him sit after the Mavericks got down 19. Could they have used him late? Probably. But it's a long season.
- Dallas plays these same Nuggets on Friday!