Denver, CO (Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki scored 13 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and Dallas escaped the Pepsi Center with a 102-101 win over Denver after Carmelo Anthony missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer.
Caron Butler scored 16 points, including the go-ahead three pointer down the stretch, and Jason Terry added 20 thanks to a 4-for-5 effort from behind the arc for the Mavericks, who have won three of four to start the year.
Anthony ended with 20 points and 15 rebounds, while Arron Afflalo netted 17 for the Denver, which has split its first four contests. Al Harrington and Chauncey Billups each deposited 16 points in defeat.
Nowitzki, who also pulled down 12 rebounds, scored Dallas’ first seven points of the fourth quarter to keep the visitors in front but missed a dunk at the midway point that eventually led to an Afflalo lay-in. Afflalo hit a three- pointer the next time down to give Denver its first lead of the frame, 95-93, and Anthony’s jumper a little later made it a four-point game.
Nowitzki answered with six straight points, and after Anthony rattled one in to tie it, 99-99, the German superstar drove the lane and dished to the right corner, where Butler was left open for a pivotal three-ball with two minutes to play.
The teams traded misses, and an instant replay reversal on an out-of-bounds call gave Denver the ball with under a minute remaining. Anthony slammed home a Harrington miss with 32.1 seconds left, and Nowitzki air-balled a baseline fadeaway at the other end with eight seconds showing.
A slow-developing play saw Anthony gain possession along the right wing, and the forward got separation from Butler before rising for a 22-footer that rimmed out, giving Dallas its narrow victory.
The Nuggets took a 27-23 lead into the second and, despite never trailing in the quarter, took only a 52-50 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Dallas quickly erased a 54-52 deficit over a 3 1/2-minute span early in the third frame. Terry hit three pointers around a Billups turnover and drained another from long range to cap a 14-4 stretch that gave the Mavs a 66-58 edge with just over 6 1/2 minutes left in the frame.
Harrington’s bucket off a Dallas turnover late in the third had the Nuggets within 84-80 heading to the final stanza.
The Nuggets had won five of the previous six home meetings against Dallas…Gary Forbes had 12 points for the Nuggets, who were outrebounded, 45-39, for the first time this season…Denver’s Ty Lawson, on his 23rd birthday, notched nine points and nine assists…Jason Kidd handed out 12 assists to make up for a 1-for-6 shooting performance for Dallas.
The Dallas Mavericks outscored the Denver Nuggets, 27-25, in the second quarter of the game, but are down two at halftime. Carmelo Anthony has mostly been a non-factor in the scoring column so far, chipping in only five points. However, he has added seven rebounds. Chauncey Billups and Arron Afflalo continue to battle for the team’s leading scorer tonight, the former currently ahead by one with 13 points. Gary Forbes has turned in a solid first half with 12 points, three rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.
Dirk Nowitzki continues to keep the Mavericks afloat with 20 points and nine rebounds so far. Coming off the bench, Shawn Marion has added eight points, four rebounds and two blocks. The Mavericks are only 1-of-7 on three pointers, that being Jason Kidd’s only points of the game. Also, they are out-rebounding the Nuggets 24-21.
Will Dirk Nowitzki continue to be the only offensive weapon for Dallas tonight?
The Nuggets lost to Utah in six games, while the Mavericks were also bounced from the postseason in six games by San Antonio.
Denver is 2-1 on the season and is coming off Saturday's 107-94 victory at Houston in which Al Harrington pumped in 28 points and 10 rebounds off the bench to lead the way. Disgruntled forward Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points and Nene added 12 and 12 boards for the Nuggets, who outscored the Rockets by a 35-25 margin in the final stanza.
"We're trying to learn about Al a little bit," Nuggets head coach George Karl told NBA.com. "He knows how to get open, he knows how to find the three. He plays hard and rebounds the ball well."
The Nuggets' bench outscored Houston's reserves 42-20. Chauncey Billups had 13 points in the win for Denver, which was coming off a loss at New Orleans and will also welcome the Los Angeles Clippers to the Pepsi Center.
Dallas is also 2-1 on the young season and recorded a 99-83 triumph over the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday from Staples Center.
Dirk Nowitzki had 16 points and seven rebounds, Jason Terry netted 15 points and Jason Kidd contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Mavericks, who bounced back from a 91-90 loss versus Memphis on Friday.
"Our first half was so-so. We had to come out and play a better second half and we did," Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said. "Our bench play was pivotal. A good win for us."
The Mavericks won't play again until Saturday versus Denver in the Lone Star State.
Dallas won two of three matchups with Denver a year ago after the Nuggets swept a four-game series in the 2008-09 campaign. The Mavericks have won 21 of the past 33 contests against Denver, which has won five of the previous six encounters in the Rocky Mountains.