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Game 73 preview: Nuggets @ Mavericks

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Nothing better than getting a big road win and having the National Media recognize it!

From ESPN's John Hollinger:

Let's not ignore Denver's win in New Orleans on Wednesday, even though it came against a depleted Hornets roster that was missing Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic.

Apparently nobody told Hollinger that the Nuggets were without their best big man. John, a suggestion? Do your homework. From the sounds of things hair isn't the only thing missing from that guys head.

Records:
Denver 46-26 (19-18 on the road)
Dallas 43-28 (26-8 at home)

Season Series: Denver leads 3-0
Nov. 7 in Denver. Nuggets won 108-105
Dec. 15 in Dallas: Nuggets won 98-88
Jan. 13 in Denver: Nuggets won 99-97 (Cuban lost his mind in this one)

In case you don't remember ... in the game on Jan. 13th JR Smith was accused by Mavs owner Mark Cuban of throwing an elbow at the head of Mavs guard Antonie Wright. Cuban approached JR during the game and sent an email to the Rocky Mountain News (RIP) explaining what he told Smith.

"I do take exception with players throwing elbows that could have severely injured one of our players," Cuban wrote. "I was very cordial in letting Mr. Smith know that I will be turning it into the league, and I expected him to be suspended for it."

Coach Karl was quoted in the Rocky Mountain News (RIP) telling Cuban:

"... don't mess with my players."

JR even reached out to Cuban:

Smith tried to extend an olive branch to Cuban after the game by sending him a pair of autographed shoes.

"I sent them back, saying he should sell them, if you could get anything for them, to help pay for the fine he was going to face," Cuban wrote.

But it was Mavs owner Mark Cuban who was hit with a $25,000 fine from the NBA for the tantrum he threw not only at halftime (talking to Nuggets players about JR Smith's elbow and to JR), but after the game.

Cuban almost immediately after the fine wrote a special blog directed specifically to JR in which he said he'd donate the $25K to Smith's charity of choice. (click here for Cuban's blog)

Now obviously I don't know Mark Cuban, but I'm willing to bet that he hasn't forgotten about the incident and may have something special planned for JR tonight. I'll be tuning in to see if Cuban tries to distract The Prodigy.

As for the game itself ...

The 8th seeded Mavs have been playing playoff games for the last 6+ games now as the Suns are just 3 1/2 games behind them and were winners of 6 straight before falling to the Blazers last night and providing the Mavs with a bit of breathing room.

The Mavs have won two straight and are 6-4 in their last 10 games. But in their last 5 games the Mavs are 0-2 versus +.500 teams and 3-0 versus sub .500 teams.

In an ironic turn of events ... I was reading on SB Nation's Suns blog Bright Side of the Sun that there are mixed feelings about Nene's suspension. See they were glad he got ejected and suspended, but the Suns sort of need Denver to beat the Mavs in a major way. So, the two game suspension could end up hurting the Suns' playoff chances if the Nuggets lose tonight and it was all Admundson's fault anyway! Ha!

While beating a team four times in a row is not an easy task, the Nuggets have played Dallas tough this season. My buddy Rich tried time and again to tell me the Mavs are "washed up" and "too old" with Jason Kidd running things, but Dallas' record proves otherwise. While they may no longer be an elite team, they do have a bunch of seasoned veterans who know how to win. Speaking of seasoning ... that seasoning at Red Robin for the French fries is delicious!

Dirk still is running the show in Dallas. He's averaging 25.5 points this season and 8.3 rebounds per game and in the three games against the Nuggets he's averaging 31.3 points along with 11.3 rebounds. KMart will have his hands full as I expect him to be locked up on Dirk when he's in the game.

The biggest thing I want to see out of the Nuggets is their focus from the Hornets win still intact. You can't come out of that game and lose this one or not play good in this one because it would throw away all of the credibility of Wednesday night's win.

Pretty safe to say that I am not so sure of this Nuggets team. One night they thrill me and the next they disappoint. Oh the joys of an 82 game season. I'm along for this roller coaster ride and we're nearing the end ... who's coming with me?

Opposition: Mavs Moneyball


ntimmons73@yahoo.com