Setting the Table: Denver Nuggets (Game 79)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on April 12, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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It has come to this as the Dallas Mavericks (38-40) are now playing the string out as they host the Denver Nuggets (54-24). Coupling the loss to Phoenix and Los Angeles’ win in Portland, Dallas is officially out of the running for the playoffs.The streak of 12 consecutive trips to the postseason was the longest in franchise history and the second-longest in the NBA (San Antonio will be making its 16th straight postseason appearance in 2013). The Nuggets, who will be making their 10th consecutive postseason appearance in 2013 (2004-2013), now own the second-longest active playoff streak. During their 12-year streak, the Mavericks made three Western Conference Finals appearances (2003, 2006, 2011) and advanced to the NBA Finals twice (2006 and 2011). They captured their first NBA championship in 2011.

It will be interesting to see how the players react in playing a game that really has no major significance. There’s a mix of veterans who have a lot of pride with young players who might not be sure how to react to this situation.

Despite the Mavericks being out of the playoff mix, there are still things to play for and those will be covered at the end.

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

Series Notes:

The Nuggets have taken 14 of the last 21 regular-season meetings between the two teams. The Nuggets won the first two meetings between the two clubs this year and will look sweep the season series (3-0) with a victory at Dallas.

Brandan Wright is averaging 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 22.0 minutes in two games against the Nuggets this season. Chris Kaman is averaging 12.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 21.5 minutes in two games (both starts) against Denver in 2012-13. Darren Collison is averaging 10.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 31.5 minutes in two games (one start) against Denver this season. Shawn Marion is averaging 8.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 28.0 minutes in two starts against the Nuggets this year.

The Mavericks have won 23 of the last 32 regular-season matchups in Dallas, but the Nuggets have taken seven of the last 10 at American Airlines Center.

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.

Things to Play For:

The three keys really won’t pertain to the game, but there are things that are still worth playing for as the Mavericks finish their regular season.

1. Mr. 25,000. Dirk Nowitzki currently has 24,968 points and needs 32 points for 25,000 in his career. He will become the 17th player in NBA history to reach the 25,000-point mark. Nowitzki will also become one of only nine players in NBA history with at least 25,000 points and 9,000 rebounds (joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin Garnett). With things being settled, Rick Carlisle might ask Dirk want he wants to do in terms of actually playing these games as they don’t have any major value. Knowing Dirk, he’ll want to play so the chase to 25,000 is worth tracking.

2. The chase to .500. Dallas suffered their third loss in a game where they had a chance to reach .500 after falling 10 games below .500 in December. With four games left, the goal of being able to get back to .500 is still within reach. If Dallas losses their next two games, the chase for .500 will officially be done. There is still life and it would be good to finish a disappointing year on a good note.

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.