Injury-hit Denver drop to fifth position in their conference with only one win in last six games while Mavericks retain No 2 spot in the West.
Nowitzki enjoys as Nuggets fall
Dirk Nowitzki recorded the second triple-double of his career to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 109-93 victory over the troubled Denver Nuggets on Monday night. Nowitzki, who had failed to reach 20 points in his last four games, had 34 with 10 rebounds and 10 assists as Dallas maintained their grip on second spot in the NBA's Western Conference.
The Nuggets (48-27), who have lost five of their last six games, dropped to fifth in the West behind the Phoenix Suns. They also surrendered their lead in the Northwest division to Utah. Shawn Marion chipped in with 21 points and Jason Terry added 15 off the bench for the Mavericks, who are 4-4 from their last eight games. JR Smith had a team-high 27 for Denver but Carmelo Anthony had an off night, finishing with just 10 points.
"To me the game ball really belongs to Marion," Nowitzki said. "He was fantastic tonight. "Carmelo is one of the best scorers in the league and he did a phenomenal job on him. This was definitely a fun win." Dallas (49-25) took an eight-point lead in the first quarter and cemented the win with a 10-2 run in the fourth quarter during which they built a 100-81 lead. Nowitzki made three three-pointers and had 13 points in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Rodrigue Beaubois, the rookie, had just five points, a game after scoring 40 against Golden State. "That Denver team has always been a thorn in our side," Terry said. "So it means something to beat them, especially given the situation [with the standings]. And if you don't fight back, if you get lax at all, they will sense it and they will kill you." Six players managed to score in double figures for Denver, who have struggled with injuries and with the absence of George Karl, their head coach, who has been receiving treatment for cancer.
Still missing from the Nuggets' line-up was their big man, Kenyon Martin, who was absent for his 14th consecutive game because of a knee injury. Elsewhere, the New Jersey Nets avoided any chance of equalling the record for the worst NBA season by beating the San Antonio Spurs 90-84. The victory was their 10th of the season, meaning they cannot match the record of futility held by the Philadelphia 76ers, who finished the 1972-s73 season with a record of 9-73.
"It's a big relief," said Courtney Lee, the New Jersey guard. "Now we can go out and have fun and play." "We don't want to be a part of the worst team in history, so it's exciting to get 10 wins, but it is 10 wins, you know what I mean?" said Devin Harris, the Nets point guard, said. "It's fun. We haven't won that many games, so we are excited to win. We are continuing to move forward." New Jersey (10-64) trailed 77-72 midway through the fourth quarter but a 13-2 run helped them secure the win. * With agencies