DALLAS – Nuggets coach Michael Malone wanted his team to finish the season strong, and on Tuesday night he got it. The Nuggets, down five players due to injury and rest took control in the second quarter and beat the Mavericks, 109-91.
The Nuggets ruined Tony Romo day by burying the Mavericks in a sea of 3-pointers and getting a big night out of rookie guard Malik Beasley. Beasley, getting extended minutes in the last two games, scored 12 of his 16 points in the second quarter. He was quick and athletic, and, for the most part, on target.
Beasley wasn’t the only one.
Five Nuggets in all were in double figure scoring. The Nuggets hit 18 3-pointers in the game, which tied for the second-highest total in a game this season. And the ball moved. Three of the scorers were also playmakers. Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Nikola Jokic combined for 22 assists.
The Mavericks were led by Dirk Nowitzki’s 21 points and eight rebounds.
Now, the Nuggets have a chance to finish the season with 40 wins, if they can close the season with a victory at Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
The Flow. After a quick start that got the Nuggets out to a 7-2 lead, it was the Mavericks who took control, going on a 17-4 run to take a 19-11 lead in the first quarter. But the Nuggets settled down and settled in after that. Malik Beasley opened his scoring on the business end of an alley oop dunk, and caught fire from there. The rookie scored 12 points in the second quarter, nailing two 3-pointers in the process and making 4-of-7 shots in all. With Beasley leading the Nuggets slowly took over. They outscored the Mavericks 34-18 in the second quarter and held a 13-point lead at halftime.
The second half saw the Nuggets push their lead to 18 before the Mavericks put up any resistance. A few moments in the third quarter got a bit anxious for the Nuggets as turnovers started to multiply and the Mavericks converting them into points. But once the Mavericks got the deficit under 10, the Nuggets regained control and closed the game out.
Deciding run. A 24-11 run in the second quarter took a 33-33 tie and gave the Nuggets a 57-44 lead at halftime. The Nuggets added to it and held on to win.
What it means. The end of Tuesday’s game means there is one game left in the regular season.
Nuggets standouts. Malik Beasley finished with 16 points in the game. Gary Harris had 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Jamal Murray scored 10 points and hand 10 assists. Juancho Hernangomez finished with 14 points.
Stat of the game. The Nuggets converted just 13 Dallas turnovers into a 24 points.
Next. The Nuggets finish the regular season with the second of a back-to-back, on Wednesday at Oklahoma City.