Preview: Denver Nuggets conclude back-to-back vs. Mavericks

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyroNBA

Following the conclusion of their five-game homestand, the Denver Nuggets head out on the road for a quick stop in Dallas to take on the Mavericks.

The Nuggets certainly benefitted from their stay in the Mile High City, going 5-0 during the homestand following their 124-95 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday night. 63 bench points and 19 3-pointers fueled the comfortable victory, while Nikola Jokić chipped in with 28 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists in just 28 minutes of action.

MORE: Takeaways from win over Portland

Dallas (8-4) has had an uneven start to the season, highlighted by the team having a winning record despite owning a negative net rating of -1.4 points per 100 possessions on the season. The Mavericks haven’t quite found a rhythm on either end of the floor, ranking 17th in offensive rating and 20th in defensive rating.

Denver won the first meeting of the season between the two teams back on October 29.

TUNE-IN: 6 p.m. MT, Altitude TV and NBA TV, 92.5FM

Defend the 3-point line

Dallas’ offense has been centered around shots outside of the paint to begin the season, with only 25.4 percent of its total shot attempts coming within four feet of the basket. Instead, the Mavericks have been aggressive from downtown, as 41.2 percent of their shot attempts have come from beyond the arc, the seventh-highest frequency in the league.

Unfortunately for Dallas, those shots haven’t been falling at a high rate throughout the first month of the season, as the Mavericks rank 26th in 3-point percentage at 33.2 percent.

Denver has done a good job limiting attempts from downtown this season, and teams have only connected on 32.6 percent of their 3-point attempts against the Nuggets so far, making this a compelling matchup between the two teams. In the first meeting back in October, Dallas shot 8-of-37 from deep against Denver.

Get out in transition

A stark contrast between the two teams has been the frequency of transition plays on the offensive end. While the Nuggets rank fifth in this regard at 18.5 percent of their possessions beginning with a transition play, Dallas is all the way down at 13.4 percent, which ranks 29th.

The Mavericks rarely look to run in transition, regardless of if it’s coming off a live-ball turnover or rebound. Denver may not have much success in transition, but the Nuggets certainly look to take advantage whenever possible.

On the other end of the floor, Denver has also been more effective in limiting transition opportunities for its opponents, ranking sixth in opponent frequency of possessions that begin with a transition play. Dallas ranks 25th in that regard, although the Mavericks have thrived in limiting the effectiveness of those transition opportunities.

Attack the basket

As mentioned earlier, Dallas has struggled on the defensive end of the floor this season. Teams are shooting above the league-average percentage from all areas of the floor, but where the Mavericks have been the most vulnerable is around the rim.

Dallas has had more success limiting 3-point attempts than shots at the rim for its opponents, and teams have connected on 65.7 percent of their attempts from within four feet of the hoop this season.

Denver has been effective from that area of the floor this season, ranking 12th in the frequency of attempts (32.8 percent) and first in accuracy (71.9 percent). If the Nuggets can get inside the paint early and often Monday night, it will go a long way in securing an impressive road victory.

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