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Recap: Denver Nuggets fall to Dallas Mavericks

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NBA: Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets headed to Dallas to meet up with the Mavericks in what would be one of the last NBA games played with fans for the foreseeable due to the Coronavirus, and the game was great for Denver to start with a 2-of-3 mark from 3-point range which allowed them to get to an early 6-4 lead. After a basket was made by Paul Millsap, Luka Doncic nailed a pair of shots that gave them a 9-8 lead.

Millsap nailed a triple that gave them their lead back before Will Barton extended the lead to five which forced a Dallas timeout with just under eight minutes remaining. Out of the timeout, Denver gave up a basket, but Millsap instantly nailed another 3-point shot. The two sides traded makes, including a powerful dunk by Jamal Murray, but Dallas was creeping back as they cut the lead down to 19-15.

Dallas got within three before a pair of Millsap makes extended the lead to seven. The two sides kept cooking from deep as Dallas was able to get them within three aver the two teams traded twos. Millsap got his 12th point on the night, but Maxi Kleber nailed a triple that brought them within two with 2:01 remaining. Michael Malone promptly called his first timeout.

Following a Denver miss, Tim Hardaway Jr. nailed a triple to give Dallas the lead. Denver’s offense hit a rut, and the Mavericks were able to further grow their lead to four before the quarter came to an end after Murray’s 3-point heave failed to fall. Denver was relying heavily on Millsap’s offense to stay in the game, and they need something from the rest of the squad to come out of the game with a win.

Out of the quarter break, Doncic got things rolling with a huge dunk, and Boban Marjanovic was bullying Denver inside. Dallas got up to a 38-34 lead, and the Nuggets just couldn’t get anything going on offense before the Mavericks were out to a 6-point lead with another Denver timeout coming. Marjanovic nailed a Eurostep layup before Jokic finally got a shot to fall that killed their cold streak.

Boban got another dunk, but Monte Morris made a 3-point shot that cut it to five as they were starting to work their way back. Doncic mad another shot, but Denver was keeping it close thanks to a 3-point shot by Barton. Denver got within four before Michael Porter Jr. fouled Luka which sent him to the line where he went 0-of-2. Jokic went spinning towards the basket for a layup that made it a 2-point game, and Dallas immediately called a timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, the two sides traded misses and turnovers before Luka cashed a 3-point shot to extend the lead back to five. Luka and Jokic traded buckets before they hit the 2:00 minute mark. Dallas got another bucket to fall, and they were stretching their lead heading into the half. Gary Harris went 1-of-2 on free throws before going to the locker room. Murray got a technical free throw to fall that got them within five, but Willey Cauley-Stein complete an alley-oop dunk that stretched back to seven heading into the break.

After halftime, Denver got a couple of buckets to fall, and they were beginning to close the gap on Dallas before a Courtney Lee triple extended the lead back to six. After a turnover by Jokic, Luka got a head of steam going towards the basket where he completed the basket and free throw that grew the lead to nine. Murray converted a 3-point play after a bucket by Barton, and Denver was keeping the game close.

Dallas converted one more bucket before Barton went on a four-point run that brought Denver within two and forced another timeout from the Mavericks. After trading misses out of the timeout, Murray nailed a shot to tie the game before Marjanovic retook the lead. After that though, the Nuggets went on a six-point run before Dallas stopped it with a triple of their own.

Torrey Craig and Jokic got shots to fall, and Dallas called another timeout in an effort to keep themselves in the game. After the timeout, Luka promptly converted a 3-point play to bring them within six, but Barton got them back right away. Luka was doing everything he could to keep Dallas in the game. He was charging to the rim relentlessly, and he was being rewarded with free throws. Denver was keeping them at arm’s length before Hardaway helped out with a triple which was followed by a big dunk by Kleber to bring them within one.

Denver held that lead heading into the fourth quarter of play which was going to be the last bit of Denver basketball for who knows how long. Dallas converted a pair of baskets to start the quarter, but Denver couldn’t stem the tide. The Mavericks got out to a five-point lead, and Malone called another timeout with his unit struggling. Dallas scored again before Jerami Grant was able to make a shot through a foul and convert the 3-point play. The only problem was Dallas couldn’t be stopped on the offensive end.

Dallas continued to score, and, after an easy basket by Boban, Malone called a timeout in a very animated fashion. After some makes by Denver, Dallas called a timeout that had them up by three. After misses by each side, Boban hit another bucket that got him up to 25 points which was a season high. Dallas made a pair of baskets to stretch their lead to seven, and they were working to salt the game away with under six minutes remaining before Jokic stopped the run.

With 4:13 remaining, Dallas had the ball up by five, and they were keeping Denver on their heels. The two sides traded misses before Dallas cashed a triple, and they followed it up by forced a turnover out of Denver which forced them to foul. Boban made a pair of free throws, and the lead was up to 10. He followed that up with two more that gave him a career-high of 29 and a 12-point lead before a Jokic make.

Boban continued putting points on the board, and Denver just had no answers for him inside the paint. Up by 14 with a little over a minute remaining, Dallas was just running out the clock. Millsap and the Nuggets continued fighting until their final possession was over, but the game was done, and the Nuggets would be without basketball for who knows how long.

Stat Leaders

Points: Jamal Murray - 25

Assists: Nikola Jokic - 8

Rebounds: Jokic - 13

Player of the Game: Jamal Murray 25 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 10-22 field goals, 3-10 3-point