Nuggets Stumble In Dallas, Still 1 Win From Best Season Ever
DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points, O.J. Mayo hit tie-breaking 3-pointers late in regulation and overtime, and the Dallas Mavericks denied Denver a franchise record in wins with a 108-105 victory over the Nuggets on Friday night.
Mayo’s shot in regulation could have won the game, but his turnover in the final seconds led to a tying layup by Corey Brewer, who was among three Denver players with 18 points.
The loss kept Denver at 54 wins, which the Nuggets have reached twice previously. The last time was with Carmelo Anthony leading the way in 2008-09, when the Nuggets beat the Mavericks in five games in the second round of the playoffs.
Mayo put Dallas ahead 104-101, and the Mavericks, playing two nights after getting eliminated from the playoff race for the first time since 2000, held on in a frantic final minute of overtime.
Mayo finished with 20, while Vince Carter had 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Wilson Chandler and Andre Iguodala joined Brewer with 18 for the Nuggets, and Kenneth Faried had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Dallas was nursing a 106-105 lead when Brewer was called for a foul on Nowitzki with 0.5 seconds on the shot clock and 6.1 seconds left in the game. The Mavericks threw a long inbound pass to Darren Collison, who avoided being foul until there was just 1.9 seconds left.
Collison hit both free throws and Iguodala was short on a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Denver point guard Ty Lawson returned after missing five games with a right plantar fasciitis tear, but didn’t play half of the fourth quarter and overtime because he was limited to 20 minutes. He scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter and finished 13.
The Nuggets lost their last chance to finish as the No. 2 seed and will remain in a battle for home court in the first round with Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers over their final three games.
The Mavericks had a 99-97 lead and the ball with 10 seconds left in regulation when they inbounded to Mayo, who turned it over trying to dribble across midcourt. Andre Miller got the ball to Brewer for a layup and a 99-all tie with 3.9 seconds left. Mayo then missed a potential winning layup at the buzzer.
After Mayo put Dallas ahead 99-96 with a 3-pointer in the final minute, Miller was fouled on a drive and the referees ruled goaltending against Brandan Wright before overturning the call on video review.
Miller missed the second free throw, and Mayo found Wright, who was fouled as he barely missed a layup. Wright missed both free throws, but Iguodala missed a contested jumper before Mayo’s turnover gave Denver another chance to tie.
In the third quarter, the Mavericks went on a 15-0 run that gave them their first lead at 63-61 on a short jump hook by Wright. Six different Dallas players scored during the run before Brewer stopped it with a long jumper.
Iguodala, who hit a game-winning layup to beat the Mavericks in Denver and was coming off a triple-double against San Antonio, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close the first half, with Denver leading all the way and taking a 55-48 lead to the locker room.
The Mavericks pulled even at 45-all on a layup by Shawn Marion when JaVale McGee was called for goaltending before the Nuggets finished the half on a 10-3 run. The only bucket for Dallas was a 3-pointer by Nowitzki, who scored 16 in the first half.
NOTES: Nowitzki finished 10 points shy of 25,000 for his career. He should reach become the 17th NBA player to reach the milestone Sunday at New Orleans. Jerry West is 16th at 25,192 points. Nowitzki is third among active players behind Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. … The Nuggets won all five games that Lawson, their leading scorer, missed with his foot problem. That included almost three full games without Danilo Gallinari, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee early in a home game against the Mavericks last week. Gallinari had a career-high 39 points at Dallas in December. Mavericks C Elton Brand returned after missing four games with a strained right calf.
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