Nowitzki, Mavericks Rally Past Nuggets
Dallas 83, Denver 80
DALLAS, Nov. 15 (Ticker) -- The Denver Nuggets appeared to be in position to pick up an elusive road win. Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks had other ideas.
Nowitzki scored 19 of his 35 points in the second half, when the Mavericks rallied from a 19-point deficit to post an 83-80 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
After a back-and-forth first half, the Nuggets opened the third quarter with a 15-0 run, capped by Andre Miller's layup with 8:26 left for a 56-40 lead. Anthony's dunk three minutes later pushed the advantage to 64-45 before the Mavericks bridged the quarters with a 28-8 spurt to move back in front.
"They just kind of picked up their intensity and they hit shots," said Denver guard DerMarr Johnson, who scored six of his eight points during the Nuggets' run. "We just kind of let up once we had them on their heels. We got a little excited and thought we were going to cruise our way to a victory, but they came back."
Nowitzki scored 15 during the burst, including a 3-pointer with 6:09 to go that gave Dallas a 73-72 advantage.
"Obviously, we got embarrassed in our home building," Nowitzki said. "It was a bad effort by us coming out of the half, and there wasn't much to talk about. We competed great during that stretch. If we compete like that all of the time, we're a pretty good team."
The game remained close thereafter, with Anthony hitting a pair of free throws with 2:46 remaining to draw the Nuggets within 81-80.
Denver had a chance to move in front after Miller stole the ball from Devin Harris at the other end, but Anthony and Johnson combined to miss three straight shots after the Nuggets grabbed two offensive rebounds.
The teams traded empty possessions, giving Denver another opportunity. Anthony drove past Marquis Daniels but had his layup blocked by DeSagana Diop with 2.4 seconds to play.
"My main goal was to go in there and make the shot or draw some contact someway, somehow," Anthony said. "Dirk and DeSagana came over and I don't know what happened after that. At that point, the referees were just letting us play."
"I knew he was not going to pass it," Diop said. "When he gets that far under, he's going to shoot it every time."
With Daniels, Nowitzki and Diop converging on Anthony, Nuggets coach George Karl wanted the ball passed to an open teammate.
"He's not going to get that call on the road," Karl said. "Carmelo has to understand that if they play him 1-on-1, we want him to shoot the ball. If they play him with three, then we want him to pass the ball. That's my responsibility to teach him."
Darrell Armstrong hit a pair of free throws on the other end, and Johnson's desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer fell well short.
"That was a gutsy win for us," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "I am really proud of those guys. They really battled and turned a bad night into a good night."
Diop recorded 16 rebounds and six blocks in 37 minutes - all career highs.
"I played a lot of minutes tonight, and that always helps," Diop said. "It's a great feeling. I just need to keep doing it, though. I need to keep working hard and give a lot of effort."
"He may not have the same stat line, but it's good when I know I am going to get a certain type of energy, competitive spirit and intensity," Johnson said. "He's been pretty consistent in that area."
Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin aggravated a left knee injury in the second quarter and did not play in the second half.