Dirk Nowitzki dominated, scoring 33 points on 12-19 shooting, grabbing 11 rebounds and delivering six assists as the Mavericks won every quarter of the game and delivered a loss to the Denver Nuggets in a 112-95 verdict Monday night.
The Mavericks got a balanced effort scoring-wise, with six players in double figures in scoring and 33 assists. Jason Kidd led the way in distribution, accounting for 10 of those assists and Kidd pitched in four steals as well.
The Mavericks came out smoking in the second half, going on a 9-0 run to take control of the game and then put the game away after Denver pulled to 78-72 by scoring 27of the game's next 39 points, led by Nowitzki's final eight points of the night before retiring with over six minutes left in the game.
Overall, the Mavericks were able to succeed offensively without much resistance from Denver, shooting over 50 percent in every quarter but the fourth, where they cleared the bench toward the end and still shot 9-19 in that quarter.
Dallas shot 54 percent from the floor, including a 40 percent clip from three-point range, far outdistancing the Nuggets' 43 and 29 percent in those respective categories. Dallas' defense was stout despite the absence of two key defenders, Shawn Marion and Brendan Haywood. Brandan Wright helped pick up the slack up front with 15 points and six rebounds.
Arron Afflalo did what he could to help the Nuggets stay in the game, shooting 7-10 from the field and 8-8 from the free throw line, leading Denver with 24 points. Wilson Chandler played his first game of the season and pitched in 13 points.
Al Harrington came off the bench to provide some offense in the third quarter and was pivotal in a 14-4 run to bring the game back to within six points. Harrington scored five in the run and had 12 points in nine rebounds in 25 minutes, but ultimately couldn't help stop Dallas from pulling away.
LJ Rotter of Mavs Moneyball figures that winning is a lot better than losing:
It's always more fun to watch a game of basketball when your team is winning. It's even more fun when they're doing so in convincing fashion. It's nearly ecstasy when it's your team's second big win in a row (fourth straight overall), and their first road win in seven games. It's mind-blowing when they manage to win without two of their best defenders and their starting center.
On the losing end, Jeffrey Morton at Denver Stiffs wonders about how wisely Denver used their roster:
I'm not going to blame this loss on George Karl. The effort in the second half was awful, and the team seemed to lose heart after both Gallo and Dre went out of the game. However, if there's one consistent criticism I have of Karl, it is his lineups, and tonight's "effort" was bad. A true center was only on the court for the Nuggets for 25 minutes. That's it. Meanwhile the likes of Gallo (in the first half), Al Harrington and Kenneth Faried were left playing center against much bigger players.