It looked like the Nuggets were going to run away with things early as they had a 29-18 lead after the first quarter and extended that out to 34-19 before the Mavericks made their run.

Everything went right for Denver to open the game. The defense was active and that led to some fastbreak points on the offensive end. Kenneth Faried was his usual Bounce self as he put up 9 points and 11 rebounds in the first quarter. O.J. Mayo kept the Mavs in it with 7 points of his own in the first period and 13 points in the first half, but Mayo would not stay hot and finished the night with 15 points – just two points in the second half.

Dirk Nowitzki again came off the bench and looked pretty good early in his home debut. He helped the Mavs bench get the team back in the game as Dallas' subs came in and scored 23 points to Denver's 7 points from their second unit in the first half. But like Mayo, Dirk's decent start would not last as he scored all 5 points in the first half and finished the night just 2-10 shooting in 18 minutes. Nowitzki is clearly not back in the mix yet as his minutes are being monitored and his already limited athleticism (although deceptive) is even more-so now.

With the quick Ty Lawson running things for Denver, Rick Carlisle turned things back over to Darren Collison – who had been coming off the bench for Dallas recently. Dominique Jones had been starting for the Mavs, but he saw just 8 minutes tonight. Collison was coming off a big performance in Oklahoma City on Thursday night as he scored 32 points, but he would score just 10 points and hand out 4 assists on the evening.

Lawson, just 5-14 shooting on the night, was able to dictate the Nuggets quick pace and he was clearly missed when he went to the bench for the slower paced Andre Miller. Lawson was looking to push the pace and was even looking for his jumper. He finished with 11 points and had 6 assists, but turned the ball over 5 times. Despite the turnovers, I liked how Lawson was playing and enjoyed seeing him impose his will over Collison.

During the second quarter a lineup of Miller, Jordan Hamilton, Corey Brewer, Gallo, and JaVale McGee let the Mavs right back in the game. That unit was on the floor with a 31-18 lead and Dallas would cut that to 34-24 in a matter of minutes. Karl subbed out McGee for Kosta Koufos (who had a forgettable night) and the lead continued to shrink as the Nuggets turned into a jump shooting team that struggled to score. Dallas would cut it to 35-30 before Lawson came back in the game and put home a layup after a Mayo bricked three (37-30).

We got a nice preview of what was to come in the second half with just seven seconds remaining in the second quarter. Gallo buried a three in the corner, the Mavs threw a long inbounds past half court that Miller would steal, pass to Lawson in the corner where he bricked a three, and Gallo came out of nowhere to grab the miss and dunk it back in as time expired. A quick 5 points in 7 seconds for Gallo and Denver would go into the locker room with a 55-47 lead.

The third quarter was the Gallo and Iguodala show … check out this barrage of plays from the wing duo:

-11:42 mark – Gallo buries a three.

-10:42 mark – Iggy buries a three.

-10:08 mark – Iggy buries a three.

-6:09 mark – Iggy goes 1-2 from the free throw line.

-5:01 mark – Iggy buries a three.

-3:58 mark – Gallo with a two.

-2:44 mark – Iggy buries a three.

-1:38 mark – Gallo with a layup and hits the free throw (And-1)

-0:55 mark – Gallo with another layup.

For those scoring at home … that's 23 combined points (10 for Gallo and 13 for Iggy) out of Denver's 32 points in the quarter. The Nuggets would take a 87-70 lead into the fourth and that was with Dallas making it 67-62 Denver with just over five minutes to go in the period.

Gallo started the fourth quarter on the bench and got some well needed rest. He came back into the game for Iguodala at the 7:43 mark and just went bananas. Gallo would score 11 of Denver's final 15 points as he shot 4-5 in the fourth with a free throw to boot.

A very special night from Gallinari as he set a new career high; leaving behind the 37 points he scored against the Knicks at The Garden last season in an overtime win. Always nice to see a career high set in a win.

The Nuggets are back at it tomorrow night in Memphis to face the 18-8 Grizzlies; whom the Nuggets are 2-0 against on the season.

Views you can use:

-Gallo finished the night 14-23 shooting (7-11 from three and 4-4 at the free throw line) for 39 points, with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, and a team high +31 (tied with Iggy).

-Iguodala finished the night 7-12 (4-6 from deep and 2-3 at the foul line) for 20 points, with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and +31.

-Faried finished the night with 11 points, 19 rebounds (7 offensive), and 4 steals.

-The Nuggets were 12-28 from three point land on the night, but the only other player to hit a three besides Gallo or Iggy was Lawson (1-3).

-The Nuggets out-scored the Mavs in the final three minutes of each quarter tonight:

1st: 7-5 Denver from the 3:28 mark.
2nd: 12-7 Denver from the 3:28 mark.
3rd: 12-6 Denver from the 3:18 mark.
4th: 6-3 Denver from the 3:16 mark.

Nuggets out-scored the Mavs 37-21 during the above spans.

Box Score from

Final – 12.28.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Denver Nuggets 29 26 32 19 106
Dallas Mavericks 18 29 23 15 85

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