Dallas Mavericks 113, Denver Nuggets 97: Three takeaways

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyrosNBA

On a night full of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 virus and the eventual suspension of the NBA schedule, the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks had to push through their potential playoff preview on Wednesday. Ultimately, Denver fell short, losing 113-97 on the road.

“You lose a game and you get upset and then you take a step back and it’s affecting millions and millions of people around the world," Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said.

Both offenses were firing early and often from beyond the arc to begin the game. The two teams combined for 12 3-pointers as Dallas held a 33-29 advantage after one quarter of play. Denver continued to have success from deep in the second quarter but trailed the Mavericks 57-50 at the break.

Denver’s defense tightened up in the third quarter, holding Dallas to 25 points as the Nuggets took an 85-84 lead into the final frame. The Mavericks continued to capitalize on Denver’s mistakes and regained the lead early in the fourth quarter. As was the case in the two previous meetings between the two teams, the game came down to the final minutes, but Dallas pulled away late to put the game to rest.

Here are three takeaways from Denver’s loss:

Dallas was able to capitalize on mistakes

In what continues to be an issue for the Nuggets since the All-Star break, taking care of the ball and preventing opponents from capitalizing on those mistakes has eluded the team. After doing a solid job in limiting the turnovers in the first half, the Nuggets gave the ball away often in the second half.

Dallas finished with 28 points off of Denver’s 16 turnovers, highlighting its ability to make the Nuggets pay for their mistakes. On a night in which both teams were thriving offensively, these points played a key role in swinging the result in Dallas’ favor.

Hot 3-point shooting fueled Denver’s offense

Following Wednesday’s performance, the Nuggets have knocked down at least 13 3-pointers in three-straight games. Even though it wasn’t enough, 14-of-39 shooting from downtown helped Denver’s offense to keep up with the Mavericks’ top-ranked offense. As the Nuggets tried to navigate a second-half comeback, the 3-pointer deserted them.

Three-point shooting isn’t an emphasis for the Nuggets’ offense, but on nights in which they are knocking down those shots at an elite rate, they become even more difficult to stop. Unfortunately, hot shooting from downtown wasn’t enough to propel Denver to a win.

Dallas dominated inside

When you get outrebounded and outscored in the paint by over 20 points, you will struggle to win games, especially on the road. Well, that was part of the downfall for the Nuggets Wednesday, as the Mavericks outrebounded them 52-40 and had a 60-38 advantage in the paint.

Denver had no answer for Boban Marjanovic, who was forced into a large role with Kristaps Porzingis resting on the second night of a back-to-back. Marjanovic finished with a career-high 31 points and 17 rebounds in his 31 minutes of action. The Mavericks grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, which directly led to 16 second-chance points.

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