Setting the Table: Denver Nuggets (Game 30)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 28, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (12-17) are looking to avoid a rare five-game losing streak as they host the Denver Nuggets (16-14). Dallas is looking to avoid a five-game losing streak for the first time since they lost six in a row during the 10-11 season (Jan. 6, 2011 through Jan. 17, 2011). In addition, the Mavericks are five games below .500 for the first time since April 2000, Dirk Nowitzki’s second season in the league.

The game against the Nuggets will mark the home debut for Dirk Nowitzki. There have yet to be any setbacks for him as he’s returned from knee surgery, which is good. It remains to be seen if Dirk will move into the starting lineup or will continue to come off the bench.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Thunder.

Series Notes:

After losing the first meeting between the two teams last season at Dallas on Dec. 26, 2011 (115-93), the Mavericks won three straight against the Nuggets to take the 2011-12 season series, 3-1. The Nuggets lost the first meeting between the two clubs at home in 2010-11, but then won the next three to take the 2010-11 season series, 3-1. The Nuggets have taken 12 of the last 19 regular-season matchups between the two clubs. The Mavericks have won 23 of the last 31 regular-season matchups in Dallas, but the Nuggets have taken six of the last nine at American Airlines Center.

Dirk Nowitzki averaged a team-high 22.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 29.4 minutes in four starts against the Nuggets in 2011-12. Vince Carter averaged 14.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks and 27.3 minutes in four games (three starts) against Denver last season. Brandan Wright averaged 11.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 22.7 minutes in three games. Shawn Marion averaged 10.3 points, a team-high 7.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 27.0 minutes in three starts against the Nuggets in 2011-12.

It’s a Small World:

Mavericks forward Elton Brand and Nuggets swingman Andre Iguodala played four seasons together in Philadelphia from 2008-12. Mavericks assistant coach Jim O’Brien was the head coach of the Sixers in 2004-05 and coached both Iguodala and Brand in Philadelphia. Dahntay Jones played in a career-high 79 games (and started a career-high 71) for the Nuggets in 2008-09, who went on to reach the Western Conference Finals that year.

Nuggets forward Corey Brewer played in 13 regular-season games for Dallas in 2010-11 and was a member of the Mavericks’ 2011 NBA championship team. Brewer was traded, along with Rudy Fernandez, from Dallas to Denver in exchange for a 2016 second-round draft pick on Dec. 13, 2011. Nuggets forward Jordan Hamilton was originally drafted by Dallas with 26th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but was traded to Denver in a three-team deal that also involved Portland on July 23, 2011.

Nuggets guard Ty Lawson and Mavericks forward Brandan Wright were both freshmen on North Carolina’s 2006-07 ACC Championship Team. Wright was a teammate of Nuggets forward Anthony Randolph on the Golden State Warriors from 2008-10. Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois (2006-09) and Nuggets guard Evan Fournier (2009-12) both played in France before beginning their NBA careers. Nuggets forward Quincy Miller (Baylor University), Nuggets forward Jordan Hamilton (University of Texas) and Nuggets guard Julyan
Stone (Texas El-Paso) all played their college ball in the state of Texas. Nuggets assistant coach Melvin Hunt also attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Three Keys:

1. Find a way to get O.J. Mayo going. Mayo is shooting 25 percent from the field and averaging 7.3 points over his last four games. He shot 49 percent and scored 20.6 points in his first 25 games of the season. Illness, loss of confidence, regression to the mean, whatever the problem is, everyone in the organization needs to find a way to get Mayo back on track.

2. See if Darren Collison can make it two in a row. Collison scored a season-high 32 points in 40 minutes at Oklahoma City. His previous season-high was 21 vs. Minnesota on Nov. 12. It was his fourth career 30-point game. It was also his 11th game with 15-plus points this season. Collison managed 15-plus points just 11 times all of last season. If it took a vote of confidence from coach Carlisle by unofficially naming him the starting point guard to get him going, let’s see if he can keep it going.

3. Don’t let the game go to overtime! Dallas fell 111-105 in overtime at Oklahoma City on Dec. 27. The Mavericks moved to 0-5 in overtime games this season and have now dropped eight straight overtime games dating back to last year. Dallas’ last win in an overtime game came at Houston on Mar. 24, 2012. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the longest overtime losing streak in the NBA since the Hawks tied an NBA record by dropping 10 straight bonus-basketball contests from Feb. 14, 2003 to Dec. 14, 2004. The Timberwolves, from 1992 to 1995, and the Warriors, from 1979 to 1981, also lost 10 straight overtime games; they share that record with the Hawks. In addition, Dallas led by 10 (89-79) with under 8 minutes remaining at Oklahoma City, but lost in overtime. It marked only the second time in the last six seasons that the Mavericks lost a game in which they held a double-digit lead with less than 8 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, held a 10-point lead with over 5 minutes remaining at Denver on Feb. 10,2011, but lost 121-120.

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.