The Denver Nuggets went into Friday nights game in Dallas shorthanded as they were without three starters in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray due to health and safety protocols along with Aaron Gordon, who missed the game due to illness.

Denver put up a fight in the first quarter as they only trailed 29-27 through 12 minutes and were led offensively by Jeff Green’s eight points, who slotted into the Nuggets starting lineup. The Mavericks dominated the second quarter though outscoring Denver 44-28 in the period to take a 73-55 lead into the break.

Even though the Nuggets battled in the second half, they were still outscored 32-28 in the third and 22-16 in the fourth quarter and ultimately suffered a 127-99 defeat to the Mavericks. Luka Doncic led the way for Dallas as he finished with a triple-double of 33 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Christian Wood also had a massive game for the Mavericks off the bench scoring 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds. For the Nuggets, one of the lone bright spots was the play of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scored 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Caldwell-Pope continued his impressive shooting from three as he currently leads the NBA in three-point percentage.

Bruce Brown also performed well filling in the starting lineup finishing with 18 points of his own on 7-of-12 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 from three. Brown also dished out seven assists and hauled in four rebounds as both he and Caldwell-Pope did their part to help try and keep the Nuggets in the game.

Michael Porter Jr. (10), Green (12) and Bones Hyland (17) also finished in double-figures, but the Mavericks just had too much fire power in the end for Denver to compete with. The Nuggets will be back in action on Sunday when they face this same Mavericks team in Dallas once again.

There is no telling whether Jokic or Murray will be able to return as the Nuggets may have to roll out the same lineup once again. Denver is now 9-6 on the season and have lost three out of their last four games as they continue to battle through starters missing games.