The Dallas Mavericks’ losing streak extended to five games after suffering a 106-85 loss to the Denver Nuggets. The loss was the eighth for Dallas in their last nine games. The Nuggets asserted themselves early used a 15-2 run from the 8:17 mark of the first quarter through the 5:27 mark of the period to go up, 21-8. Dallas used an 11-3 run from the 8:20 mark of the third quarter through the 5:37 mark of the period to trim a 13-point deficit (64-51) down to five (67-62). Denver closed the third quarter on a 20-8 run and led, 87-70, after three.
Danilo Gallinari scored a career-high 39 points against Dallas on Friday. His previous high was 37 at New York on Jan. 21, 2012. He added eight rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes.
In his home debut, Dirk Nowitzki couldn’t quite get it going against the Nuggets. He scored just five points, all in the first quarter, on 2-for-10 shooting. With the game getting out of hand, he played only 17 minutes. Though the shots weren’t going in, a lot of them rattled in and out.
Here is the quoteboard for the loss to the Nuggets.
His shots: “My teammates were really finding me tonight and I’m glad I was making my shots tonight. Tonight was one of those games were after you release the ball you think that it’s going in.”
Loving what the Mavericks gave him: “I was open tonight and I took my shots. So, I got to thank the defense; they prepared on me for leaving me open for the 3.”
Denver’s five points to end the first half: “It was big. We battled back from a bad start when we were down by as many as 12 or 14 points and then got to 3 points but didn’t execute on the foul to give. We took it too early and then left the corner 3 point shooter, which we don’t do in our system, and then we threw it away and they scored 5 points in 3 or 4 seconds. That is just poor decision making and it hurt us a lot. The second half we got off to another slow start then battled back to six but we couldn’t get any traction. I thought there were stretches where we played hard and really were in the right place doing the right things and they just rose against us and hit some ridiculous shots. We need the kind of effort that we got in those stretches—that steadfast stick to it attitude—for 48 minutes. Anything less and we can’t get over the hump.”
The rebounding: “It’s a problem that isn’t going to go away by talking about it. It is a collective problem we have to address collectively. And I know we can do it. This is a great rebounding team. We got length, we got big guys, and we have athletes. We just have to find a way.”
Cutting Dirk off in the fourth: “It was too much tonight. That was my decision. It was back to back games and he isn’t limping or anything, but he just can’t give us what everyone expects him to give. We had to get a different guy in there and this process is going to be ongoing. It is tough but we have to hang in there and in the big picture we have to keep working towards his total health and sometimes that means pulling the plug.”
Why he believes it will turn around: “I believe in the group of guys. I believe in what we’re doing even though it’s been a struggle. We’ve got to stay the course. We’ve got to stick to it. We’ve got to keep working. We’ve got to keep believing. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Real talk: “Look, we’re a long way away from being a good basketball team. I know that. It’s a lot of work. We’re going to stick with it. This is a very difficult stretch…We’ve got to be better than what we were tonight.”
The confidence level: “That (expletive) sucks. We’ve just got to stay optimistic and keep hope that it’s going to turn around.”
The confidence level: “You guys probably don’t believe it but our confidence is there. We’ve just got to continue to be positive and stay together. …All it takes is one game to turn things around and we’re looking forward to Sunday to try to turn it around.”
Looking forward: “We’ve just got to continue grinding and going hard. …We’ve got to keep positive energy in this locker room. …We can turn it around, we’re gonna turn it around, but it takes small steps. We can’t get it all back in one game or one practice.”
Why the team can turn it around: “We’re a good ball club. It’s just a tough stretch right now. We have a good team. It’s not like we have a (expletive) team out there. I think we can really play. It takes the little things. We’ve got to hold each other accountable for all the small things to add up to make it big. …We’re not close to giving up. I don’t think you guys should be close to giving up. It’s just a tough stretch right now. We’ve got to hold each other accountable and start with all of the little things and make it add up.”
What is going wrong: “Small things add up right now. We’re making little mistakes. …We’ve got to keep plugging. It’s not pretty right not obviously. Not pretty defensively, not pretty offensively, not pretty on the glass. We’ve got to keep on working.”
Where he’s at: “I’m going to work myself into better shape obviously and can help a little more, but right now I’m not helping that much. …I’m just a step slow. That’s obvious. …It’s ugly, but I’ve got to keep fighting.”
What they need to do: “We’ve got to stick together. When it’s tough, it’s tough. …This is not the time to go separate ways. When it’s tough, you’ve got to pull together. And hopefully we can pull through.”
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.