The Dallas Mavericks (36-38) are clinging to life as they take on the Denver Nuggets (51-24). The Mavericks are in need of a Mile-High miracle as they’re 2.5 games out of the 8th spot with eight games left. With the tiebreakers going against the Mavericks, they’re essentially three games back of making the playoffs. It won’t be easy for Dallas as they face the Denver in Denver (33-3 at home this season). Look at that again. The Nuggets have 33 wins at home this season. The Mavericks have 36 wins total for the year.
Denver got an impressive victory last night against the Utah Jazz despite being without Ty Lawson for the fourth time in five games as he’s sidelined indefinitely with a plantar fascia tear. Dallas will be hoping to hop on a potentially fatigued Denver squad. The Nuggets are 7-8 on the second night of a back-to-back this season. The game will feature two of the better teams since the All-Star break. Dallas has the third best winning percentage improvement Pre vs Post All-Star (+.149). Denver is first (+.249), Los Angeles Lakers are second (+.204).
It’s now or never for the Mavericks.
Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Nuggets.
The Nuggets have taken 13 of the last 20 regular-season matchups with the Mavericks. The Nuggets recorded a 106-85 victory in the first meeting between the two teams this season (at Dallas on Dec. 28). O.J. Mayo (15), Chris Kaman (12), Darren Collison (10), Vince Carter (10) and Brandan Wright (10) all scored in double figures for Dallas in the loss.
The Mavericks have won two straight and three of the last four meetings in Denver.
The Nuggets snapped a three-game losing streak against the Mavericks with the win in December. 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.
Denver won four consecutive games against Dallas from Nov. 6, 2010 through Dec. 26, 2011. 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 Mavericks’ 105-95 win at Denver on Feb. 8, 2012 snapped a four-game losing streak against the Nuggets.
It’s a Small World:
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. 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.Nuggets forward Jordan Hamilton was originally drafted by Dallas with the 26th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but was traded to Denver in a three-team deal that also involved Portland. Nuggets guard Andre Miller was sent back to Denver (from Portland) as part of the three-team trade.
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.
1. Win the battle of the bench. The matchup against the Nuggets will provide a tougher one in terms of bench scoring. The game features a matchup of the top two scoring benches in the NBA. Dallas enters tonight’s game averaging a league-high 41.4 bench points per game, while Denver comes in averaging 41.0 bench points per contest. Dallas was able to get 35 points off their bench in the game against the Lakers, but the Lakers’ bench was able to keep relative pace with 21 points of their own. Dallas is going to need everyone ready with the elevation in Denver.
2. Keep the turnovers down. Dallas is averaging 11.7 turnovers per game over its last three games. The Mavericks are 21-10 this season when they record 12-or-fewer turnovers. Denver will make an opponent pay if they turn the ball over. The Nuggets are second in the league at 19.7 points off turnovers this season .
3. Interior defense. Denver ranks first in Points in the Paint and it’s not even close (57.8, second Houston at 46.1 -11.7 margin). The 11.7 margin below Houston would be 0.8 above last place (New York Knicks). Dallas has allowed 40.9 points in the paint to their opponents this season (ranking as the 13th best in the league).
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.