Nuggets-Mavericks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 28, 2012
Denver coach George Karl said he's seeing more confidence from his team lately. The Nuggets' next opponent might have lost some during a miserable stretch. While seeking to improve its lackluster road record, Denver will try to take advantage of the struggling Dallas Mavericks and end a three-game skid in the series Friday night. The Nuggets (16-14) have had few problems at home with nine win in 10 games but they're 7-13 on the road. Denver, though, might be carrying a different attitude into this weekend's two-game trip after handing the surging Los Angeles Lakers a 126-114 defeat Wednesday. Corey Brewer tied a career high with 27 points, and Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson were among the other players who also shined. Faried had 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Lawson contributed 17 points and had his best assist-to-turnover ratio in any game at 14:0. "It was just good to see us shoot the ball and beat a good team with some confidence,'' Karl said. "I just think the last couple of games, we have been playing with a little more confidence and more awareness of how to win close games." The Nuggets will try to use that confidence to avoid a third straight road loss when they face a Mavericks team that's dropped a season-high four in a row and seven of eight. "(The upcoming road games against Dallas and Memphis) are really important for us," swingman Andre Iguodala told the team's website. "We have to focus in and take care of the first one in Dallas." Darren Collison's 3-pointer at the end of regulation Thursday in Oklahoma City gave Dallas (12-17) a chance to snap its skid but it fell 111-105 in overtime. Collison had a season-high 32 points but star forward Dirk Nowitzki scored only nine on 3-of-11 shooting in his second game back from knee surgery. "I think that I'm a week or two away of really dominating the ball down the stretch and making some stuff happen," Nowitzki said. "I don't really have that bounce in my step yet, but I'll keep working. As long as the knee responds the right way, I think my legs will come back sooner or later." Dallas used Nowitzki's 33 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for a 112-95 win over Denver in the most recent matchup March 19, but he scored only 12 points in the latest visit from the Nuggets on Feb. 15. The Mavericks, though, prevailed 102-84 in that game as Shawn Marion had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Dallas also held Denver to 35.7 percent shooting and a 6-of-27 performance from 3-point range while ending a three-game home skid in the series. Lawson scored 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting in the final victory of that string, a 115-93 win on Dec. 26, 2011, but has averaged 10.0 points on 28.6 percent shooting (10 of 35) over the last three meetings. He's also missed 12 of 14 attempts from 3-point range over that stretch. While the Nuggets have struggled on the road, the Mavericks are 8-4 at home and will try to use a return to their floor to avoid their longest skid since dropping six straight Jan. 6-17, 2011. Dallas could use a better performance from leading scorer O.J. Mayo, who has scored a combined 29 on 10-of-40 shooting over the last four games. He's averaged 19.5 points on 55.4 percent shooting in his last four matchups with Denver.
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