Losing to a team and playing them again two days later offers one distinct advantage.
“The advantage,” Dallas Mavericks center Samuel Dalembert said, “is that we owe them one.”
Dalembert was referring to the Denver Nuggets, who edged the Mavs 102-100 Saturday in Denver. As scheduling fate would have it, the Mavs (9-5) play the Nuggets (6-6) again — this time at American Airlines Center on Monday night at 7:30.
The Mavs hope the venue change means a change in the final outcome, and a change in the way the game begins. Saturday started with Denver blasting out to a 35-22 lead in the opening quarter, the only one it won.
“They really came and played hard and they were hitting some crazy shots,” Dalembert said. “We let them get too many second opportunity shots, because we should have done a good job on that.”
The other advantage with playing an opponent in consecutive games is that everyone has fresh film on each other.
“We know how they play. They’re long, [point guard Ty] Lawson is fast and athletic, and they’ve got some shooters,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “So they’re a good team and we’ve got to be ready.”
After falling behind 65-53 at the half, the Mavs outscored the Nuggets in the second half, 47-37. They also missed two shots in the last 8.9 seconds that would have sent the game into overtime
Nowitzki wasn’t surprised coach Rick Carlisle was ejected from Saturday’s game after going to bat for one of his players.
He’s done that many times in the past.
Carlisle felt Nuggets guard Randy Foye should have been issued a flagrant foul when he delivered a hard shot on Monta Ellis with 5:14 left in the first half.
When Foye was only charged with a personal foul, Carlisle had to be restrained by his staff from going after referee Tony Brothers, who tagged the coach with two technical fouls and an ejection.
“I didn’t ask for an explanation [from Brothers],” Carlisle said. “I thought [Foye] fouled [Ellis] extra hard.
“I thought the foul was excessive. I’m going to stand up for my players.”
The Mavs were down 49-33 when Carlisle was ejected. They did rally to take a late two-point lead, but couldn’t hold it.
“He got fired up about that play,” Nowitzki said of Carlisle. “If there was a flagrant or not, it didn’t really matter. But he got fired up about it.”
Count center Samuel Dalembert among the walking wounded for the Mavs.
For the first time in his career Saturday, Dalembert wore padding to protect his sore right ribs.
Dalembert has been receiving massages and other treatments and will wear the padding again Monday.
“I don’t want to wear it, but I’m going to have to for a little while,” he said. “It helps protect me from getting hit again, because if I get hit on it, it’ll just knock the wind out of me.”