104 - 96 Final
  for this game

Nuggets keep rolling, drop Mavs in Dallas

Apr 7, 2011 - 5:02 AM Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - J.R. Smith took his turn leading the balanced Nuggets in scoring, tallying 23 points off the bench, as Denver edged Dallas, 104-96, in what could be a playoff preview.

"I thought J.R. had a great game, especially in the second half," said Denver head coach George Karl.

Kenyon Martin posted 18 points and six rebounds, Wilson Chandler added 16 points, while Nene contributed nine points and 15 rebounds for the Nuggets, who won their third straight over the Mavericks and sit in fifth place in the Western Conference standings, three games up on both New Orleans and Portland with four games remaining.

Shawn Marion led Dallas with 21 points and 10 rebounds, Dirk Nowitzki donated 20 points, Jason Terry 15 and Corey Brewer 13 off the bench. Brendan Haywood grabbed a season-high 19 rebounds, including eight offensive boards, but remarkably took just one shot.

"Every time we made a run, they made a big shot," said Nowitzki.

The Mavericks are two games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the second spot in the playoff race, but now hold just a one-game lead on Oklahoma City after its third consecutive loss. If they drop to the fourth spot, they could host these same Nuggets in the first round.

Denver took a 23-17 lead into the second quarter and increased it to nine, 28-19, on Danilo Gallinari's three-point play. Smith's tip-in and Chandler's driving layup made the score 42-31 in favor of the visitors with just over five minutes left in the half. Marion's putback and subsequent free throw cut the deficit to 53-43 at the half.

The Nuggets kept their foot on the gas early in the third, taking a 61-45 edge on Nene's free throw. Dallas, feeding off the crowd, reeled off a 16-4 stretch capped by Marion's slam to pull within four. The Mavericks got as close as a bucket and trailed 72-69 after three stanzas.

Dallas seized the lead at 77-76 on Nowitzki's driving jumper, but not control, as Denver answered with five quick points, and never trailed again, as back- to-back treys by Smith and Felton made the score 94-85 and the Nuggets rolled to victory from there.

Game Notes

J.J. Barea scored 12 points and dished out 10 assists and Brian Cardinal chipped in with 13 points for the Mavericks...Gallinari and Al Harrington each scored 10 points for the Nuggets...Denver made 8-of-23 from long range and 47.7 percent of its shots overall...Dallas connected on 48.8 percent of its shots, but just 13-of-20 from the charity stripe.