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The margin of error for making the playoffs is infinitesimal in the Western Conference, and if the Denver Nuggets have many more games against playoff competitors like they did tonight vs. the Utah Jazz, they're likely to find themselves on the outside looking in. The Nuggets were blown out by the Jazz in Utah on Friday night, bringing each team's record to 26-22 as Denver tries to find itself in the post-Nene era, and with Danilo Gallinari out with a broken thumb.
The Denver Nuggets begin a seven-game road trip tonight in Utah, where they'll look to fight off the surging Utah Jazz. The Jazz have won five straight games and are pushing their way up the Western Conference standings. Right now, the Nuggets are in playoff position and the Jazz are not, but if Utah wins tonight, each team will be 26-22 overall. With just a little over a month remaining in the regular season, these games loom large for Denver.
The two teams have already met twice this season, both in Denver, with each team taking a game. The Nuggets prevailed 117-100 on Dec. 28, but the Jazz picked up a 106-96 win in the rematch on Jan. 15 before 26 points from forward Paul Millsap.
Game date/time: Friday, March 23, 8:30 p.m. MT
Location: EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: Altitude, ESPN
Newly acquired center JaVale McGee just made his presence felt for the Denver Nuggets, and this time it was in a good way. McGee threw down a go-ahead put-back dunk off a missed free throw by teammate Arron Afflalo with five seconds remaining to give Denver a 116-115 victory over the Detroit Pistons. Here's the video:
Detroit guard Ben Gordon had a chance to give the Pistons the win at the buzzer, but his 21-foot jumper missed.
Denver was led by point guard Ty Lawson, who had 25 points and six assists. Afflalo added 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Al Harrington had 16 points off the bench, while McGee finished with 15 points.
Gordon scored 45 in the loss for the Pistons.
The Nuggets out-scored the Detroit Pistons 40-18 in the first quarter, but Detroit would come back take control of the game in the second half until the frantic ending sealed the victory for George Karl's team.
The win improves Denver to 26-21, while Detroit falls to 16-30.
After running out to a 40-18 lead against the Detroit Pistons after the first quarter, the Denver Nuggets may have thought they could put it on cruise control for the rest of the night. As Detroit out-scored the Nuggets 39-22 in the second quarter, George Karl's team learned that wasn't the case. At halftime, the Nuggets hold a 62-57 lead at the Pepsi Center.
Three Nuggets scorers have already reached double-figures, led by 16 points and three assists from point guard Ty Lawson. Shooting guard Arron Afflalo went 4-of-6 from the field to finish with 11 points through the first half. Al Harrington has 10 points for Denver. New cetner JaVale McGee has seven points in nine minutes.
Ben Gordon has 27 points at the break to lead the Pistons.
Over the last eight games, the Denver Nuggets have flip-flopped wins and losses, and in this instance, they're hoping the trend continues against the lowly Detroit Pistons. The Nuggets were defeated by Dallas on Monday, but are again showing signs of life by getting out to a 40-18 lead over Detroit after the first quarter at the Pepsi Center.
Point guard Ty Lawson has 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting and three assists to lead Denver. Arron Afflalo is 2-for-3 from the field for seven points. Wilson Chandler has five points for the Nuggets, while Kenneth Farried and Timofey Mozgov each have four points for George Karl's team. Newly acquired center JaVale McGee has seven points on 3-of-3 shooting.
Shooting guard Ben Gordon leads the Pistons with six points.
The Nuggets shot 16-of-20 (80 percent) in the opening frame.
In trading Nene to the Washington Wizards, the Denver Nuggets front office has put a lot of faith in its young frontcourt, and they'll have a chance to start to make good on that gamble tonight in the Mile High City when the Nuggets host the Detroit Pistons. Detroit's record is far from sterling (though they have been over .500 since the beginning of February) but they do sport one of the best big men (of any age) in the NBA in center Greg Monroe.
Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari left Monday night's loss to the Dallas Mavericks with an injury to his non-shooting hand after trying to block a shot and hitting the backboard, and it turns out that Gallinari fractured his left thumb. It's bad news for the Nuggets as they try to hang on to their playoff position in the Western Conference, because after the game Gallo noted that the doctor told him he could be out up to four weeks while the break heals:
"I don't know how long it's going to be. It's not going to be short. It's a fracture. The doctor told me the fracture takes four weeks to heal. Hopefully I can put something on and play sooner than that. "I tried to play through but it was getting worse second-by-second," he said. "I didn't know it was broken, but it hurt a lot. It's unbelievable, but got to keep going, keep thinking positive and make this push for the playoffs."
Gallinari is the team leader in points per game this season, but he has only played in 33 of 46 total games due to a foot fracture he suffered earlier in the season. So far this year he has averaged 15.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, which are all above the three-year pro's career marks.
Andre Miller Update: The veteran point guard left the same game with a right shoulder bruise (on his 36th birthday, no less), but head coach George Karl told Hochman that "my gut says Andre will play (on Wednesday)."
The Denver Nuggets closed out its season series with the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, but it wasn't as they would have hoped. The Nuggets lost to the Mavericks, 112-95, and finished with a 1-3 record against them this season (the only win coming on Opening Night in Dallas, a 115-93 victory).
The Nuggets lost point guard Andre Miller to a shoulder injury and forward Danilo Gallinari to a fractured left thumb during the game, certainly not helping matters. Arron Afflalo stepped up and led the team with 24 points while Wilson Chandler scored 13 points in his return to the NBA. Al Harrington fell a rebound short of a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Mavericks outshot the Nuggets, 53.6 percent to 43.4 from the field, and won the rebounding battle, 45-35. Dirk Nowitzki was deadly in this game with 33 points and 11 rebounds. Vince Carter and Rodrique Beaubois each scored 14 points while Brendan Wright added 15 points off the bench.
The Nuggets (25-21, 14-12 home) host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
The Dallas Mavericks are shooting 36-of-65 (55.4 percent) from the field and 9-of-19 from the three-point line tonight against the Denver Nuggets. Not surprisingly, the Nuggets trail the Mavs 92-78 at the Pepsi Center. If Dallas can hang on, it will be the team's fourth straight win.
The Mavs are being like by future Hall of Fame forward Dirk Nowitzki, who has 28 points, 10 rebounds and six assists on 10-of-17 shooting heading into the fourth quarter. Reserve forward Brandan Wright has 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor. Vince Carter (12 points) and Ian Mahinmi (11 points) have also played well for the Mavs.
Denver is being led by shooting guard Arron Afflalo, who has 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting. In his return to the NBA after a stint playing professionally in China, small forward Wilson Chandler has 13 points on 6-of-15 shooting.
Both the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks are shooting over 50 percent from the floor through the first half of their Monday night matchup, but it's the Mavs who lead 63-56 at the Pepsi Center. The Mavericks are gunning for their fourth straight win, and if they continue shooting as well as they currently are, they will be on track to get it.
Power forward Dirk Nowitzki went 8-of-11 in the first half to finish with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists for Dallas. Reserve forward Brandan Wright has 11 points for the Mavericks. Guard Jason Terry came off the bench to score eight in the first half for Dallas.
The Denver Nuggets are trying to prevent the Dallas Mavericks from winning their fourth straight game tonight, but if Dallas keeps shooting like it did in the first quarter, George Karl's team is going to be in for a long night. Dallas will take a 33-29 lead into the second quarter at the Pepsi Center after shooting 15-for-24 (62.5 percent) from the floor in the opening frame.
Wilson Chandler is making his return to the NBA tonight for the Nuggets after a stint in China, and he's off to a nice start already. Chandler has a team-high seven points through the first quarter. Center Timofey Mozgov has six points for Denver.
The Denver Nuggets look to jump ahead of the Dallas Mavericks in the standings after the two teams play on Monday night.