In a game that really felt like it could go either way, the Denver Nuggets just didn't have enough in the end as the Dallas Mavericks came into Ball Arena and walked out with a 116-115 victory. It was the Nuggets third consecutive loss as their record now falls to 14-10 on the season.
It wasn't the greatest of starts for the Nuggets as the Mavericks led 36-29 at the end of the first quarter. Aaron Gordon did help set the tone for Denver on the offensive end of the floor as he scored 10 points, but the Nuggets defense is what held them back in the opening frame.
Denver bounced back winning the second quarter 29-28 to cut the Mavericks halftime lead to 64-58 as Gordon had 17 points at the break, while Nikola Jokic was right behind him with 13 points. The Nuggets were playing well offensively once again, but they had trouble slowing down Luka Doncic and the Mavericks offense all night long.
Doncic finished the game with a triple-double of 22 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds, which basically came in three quarters as the Nuggets shut him down in the final period. The Nuggets ended up outscoring the Mavericks 29-25 in the fourth, but it wasn't quite enough as Dorian-Finney Smith hit a big three with 16 seconds remaining to put the dagger in the Nuggets hopes of winning.
It felt like the Nuggets were going to be able to escape with the win following Bruce Brown’s three at the 37 second mark to give Denver a 1-point lead, but the Mavericks responded with a huge three of their own. Denver did have a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but Jokic missed the front-end of his two-free throws and a Jamal Murray half-court heave at the buzzer did not fall as the Nuggets lost their third straight game.
The Nuggets finished with six players in double-figures as every starter scored at least 10 points: Gordon (27), Jokic (19) — who also had eight rebounds and eight assists — Brown (12), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12), and Murray (11). Bones Hyland also finished in double-figures with 20 points off the bench behind five three-pointers.
Denver will look to get back into the win column on Thursday when they head to Portland to face-off against the Trail Blazers.