The Dallas Mavericks did not play well at all for most of the game in Denver on Tuesday night, but somehow, they found themselves right in the thick of things late in the game. It wasn’t enough, though, as the Nuggets escaped the Mavs 105-102.
Things got pretty bad in the Mile High City as the Mavs were torched by the Nuggets star big man Nikola Jokic’s 20 points and 11 rebounds in the first half. With just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter, Denver’s lead reached a game-high 23 points. Game over, right? Enter Devin Harris.
The veteran picked up the slack with J.J. Barea having to sit out due to injury. In about a four minute stretch, Harris scored 11 of his 16 points to get the deficit down to just 12 points and keep Dallas within striking distance. At that point, Harris handed the baton to the young point guards in Dennis Smith Jr. and Yogi Ferrell.
Dennis Smith Jr. taking off! ? pic.twitter.com/j7znHQdRs1
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) January 17, 2018
The point guard duo combined for 18 points in the fourth quarter and did everything they could to give the Mavs a chance to win the game. Despite the long odds, somehow the Mavs had a chance in the final seconds.
Dallas inched to within one with ten seconds remaining and obviously had to foul or force a steal to get the ball back. Several (bad/non-committed) attempts to foul were unsuccessful and the Nuggets were able to milk all but one second off the clock as the ball was advanced all the way to the front court. Gary Harris sank two free throws to put the lead back up to three and Dallas had basically no chance once Nuggets coach Mike Malone wisely put 6’10” Jokic to defend Dennis Smith Jr.’s inbound Hail Mary inbound pass.
Jokic’s final line for the Nuggets was 29 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists. It’s hard to win when you give up a game like that to an opposing big man. The Mavs were outrebounded 47-35 overall in the game.
The loss drops the Mavs to 15-30 overall and it snapped a decent four game road winning streak. The ever-changing Tankathon standings have Dallas with the fourth worst record in the league currently. The Grizzlies are close behind but have played two less games than the Mavs.
Up next for Dallas is three full days off before a game Saturday night in Portland against the meandering Trail Blazers. At 22-21, the Blazers obviously have a wealth of talented young players but seem to be a .500 team at best. A Dennis Smith Jr. vs Damian Lillard matchup will definitely be a juicy one.
Stay tuned to Dallas Sports Fanatics for more Mavs news and updates.
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