DENVER -- The Dallas Mavericks were dealt a serious blow to their playoff chances Wednesday night when they dropped a 115-110 decision to the lowly Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.
The Nuggets entered Wednesday's game with 11 losses in their last 12 games, and losses in their previous six games. But the Nuggets played like they were the team mired in a heated playoff race as they dominated for the balance of the game.
After suffering their first three-game losing streak of the season, the Mavs are now 36-26 headed into two brutal home games -- Friday against Portland and Siunday against Indiana. Wednesday's loss puts the Mavs in a virtual tie with Phoenix (35-25) for the seventh playoff spot out West, with the Suns having a .583 winning percentage to .581 percent for the Mavs.
Denver led by as much as 17 points -- 33-16 -- with 3:45 remaining in the first period as the Mavs looked very uninspired. The Nuggets held a 41-34 lead after the first period and a 68-51 lead at the half.
Behind Dirk Nowitzki (27 points) and Brandan Wright (18 points), the Mavs got within 79-73 of the Nuggets by the end of the third period.
But the fast-moving Nuggets were off and running again and built their lead up to 95-75 with 7:40 remaining in the game following a fast break dunk by J. J. Hickson.
Other than Nowitzki and Wright, the Mavs got 17 points from Vince Carter, 16 from Monta Ellis, and 15 from Shawn Marion.
Wilson Chandler led Denver with 21 points and Ty Lawson scored 20.
-- Dwain Price
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