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Denver Nuggets fall apart in third quarter, lose to Dallas Mavericks

An Nguyen Avatar
November 29, 2015


The Denver Nuggets started their five game road trip with a tough 92-81 loss against a Dallas Mavericks team that looked to end their own losing streak of three games. The Nuggets led in the first half (52-48) only to let the lead and game slip away in the second half. Dallas never looked back.


First Quarter – Starters: Emmanuel Mudiay, Randy Foye, Danilo Gallinari, Darrell Arthur, Nikola Jokic

Arthur got off to a hot start as he was drilling his midrange shot early, hitting three of Denver’s first six baskets, including an assist to Foye and a chase-down block. Arthur was an absolute joy to watch when his jumper was falling and it can be a valuable weapon in this offense.

Gallinari, a man who typically destroys the Mavericks, was quiet until he hit back to back three-pointers to end the first quarter. Huge momentum boost for the Nuggets and things were looking good. Gallo even gobbled up six boards in the quarter.

Both Joffrey Lauvergne and Kenneth Faried got a taste of some minutes for the first time in a few games. Faried was immediately effective injecting the team with energy while Lauvergne looked a bit rusty.

Despite shooting 55.6 percent from the field to Dallas’ 42.9 percent, the Nuggets only led by three. This was due to careless turnovers that plagued the entire team, seven in just the first.

End of first: Nuggets up 25-22.

Second Quarter – Starters: Nelson, Randy Foye, Will Barton, Mike Miller, Faried

I am one of Michael Malone’s biggest supporters but enough is enough — this small-ball lineup has to go. The Nuggets simply do not have the shooting that makes small-ball deadly and instead it was consistently putting the Nuggets in incredibly tough places to succeed. The team was getting mismatched whenever the Mavericks wanted, resulting in Mike Miller attempting to guard Dirk Nowitzki in the post multiple times. Then if they managed to get a stop, the lineup was consistently getting out-rebounded resulting in the Mavericks extending multiple possessions through offensive rebounding. Just frustrating to watch all around. Until the Nuggets get a legitimate threat from deep (and no, Foye is not the answer) this small-ball lineup will continue to struggle.

Mudiay was driving aggressively at times, but still generally fell back on his step-back jumper. He’s still trying to figure out what to do when he drives the paint because he’s not a good enough finisher to make defenders really respect the threat of scoring, resulting in defenders trapping him in the paint and shutting down passing lanes. This got Mudiay into sticky situations multiple times tonight.

Jokic continued to impress as he’s always in the right time at the right place. His length bothered Zaza Pachulia as well as his quick hands as he stole the ball from Pachulia in traffic twice. Jokic even nailed a triple from the top of the key — something I want to see a lot more of from the rookie as he routinely gets left open.

Arthur continued to pour in the mid-range jumpers as he led the Nuggets in scoring with 12 points alongside Gallinari in the first half. Things were looking good for the Nuggets as they played hard despite losing just last night to the San Antonio Spurs.

End of second: Nuggets up 52-48.

Third Quarter – Starters: Mudiay, Foye, Gallinari, Arthur, Jokic

Foye’s sole purpose is to hit threes and when he’s not doing that (19.2 percent from beyond the arc this season) he is a detriment to the team and just a flat out negative on the court. The Mavericks started the second half on a 16-0 run that blew the game wide open — in large part to the inabilities of Foye. His 36 minutes of playing time tonight was much more upsetting than the fact that the Nuggets lost. I can’t bear it anymore, I’m calling for his head. Some may point to Gary Harris being inactive as the reason Foye played so much, but there’s merit to playing Will Barton alongside Kostas Papanikolaou on the wings instead of Foye with Barton.

Seeing the lead balloon, Gallinari attempted to tackle the task of coming back all on his own as he began playing some hero-ball. Not a good look for Gallo as he finished the third quarter with a futile 0-6 from the field, including 0-4 from 3-point land.

The Nuggets scored 5 points to the Mavericks’ 25 in the third. No, that is not a misprint.


End of third: Mavericks up 73-57

Fourth Quarter – Starters: Nelson, Foye, Barton, Miller, Arthur

Despite Barton’s efforts from beyond the arc (4-8) the lead was simply too much to overcome as the fourth quarter essentially become another dress rehearsal — a sight that is getting all too familiar in Nuggets games. The lead was simply too much as every little mistake in the fourth led to players hanging their heads, unable to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Final: Mavericks win 92-81.


American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX | Nov. 28th | Regular Season Game 17 (6-11)


The turning point of the game was the third quarter when the Mavericks outscored the Nuggets 25-5. Simply unacceptable as any team would be hard-pressed to win a game after a train-wreck like that. Foye pushed over the first domino with his ineffectiveness and Gallinari continued the trend as he attempted to single-handedly save the day. Barton and Faried were the only two to score a basket in that dreadful quarter.



Arthur shot extremely well tonight as he poured in a team-high 16 points on 8-13 shooting. Great performance in an otherwise disappointing game.

Gallinari was well on his way to a double-double putting up 12 points and 8 rebounds in just the first half. He slowed down considerably in the second ending up with just another rebound and no additional buckets. A night to forget for the Italian Stallion.

Jokic continued to be efficient pouring 8 points on 2-3 shooting. The rookie desperately needs to be featured more in the offense, especially as a big who can not only spread the floor but make plays in the post and with his court vision. Jokic may very well be the player that takes the Nuggets to great heights as hes proven to be an absolute steal of a draft pick (41st overall).

Here’s an ugly stat: 20 turnovers to 17 assists won’t win very many games as the Nuggets abandoned their early ball movement (11 assists in the first half) to take turns at offense instead. I’m sure Malone will make it a point of emphasis and it’s on the team to respond accordingly in the next game.


The Nuggets continue their long road trip as they fly to Milwaukee and get ready to face the Bucks on Monday, Nov. 30th at 6:00 p.m. MT. The Bucks will be on the end of a back to back, albeit with a noontime game on Sunday, so the Nuggets will have the chance to grab a win against a struggling team who have also lost seven of their last ten games.

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