Sports

Balanced, efficient effort sparks Mavericks to convincing victory over Nuggets

DENVER -- Earlier on Monday, Denver fans were dancing in the streets after news spread that Peyton Manning was ready to play football for the Broncos.

Later on Monday, the Dallas Mavericks made sure Denver's basketball team wasn't going to join in the celebration.

Dirk Nowitzki led a parade of six players in double figures as the Mavs won their fourth straight game with a businesslike 112-95 victory. It was a very efficient game for the Mavs, who dispensed a season-high 33 assists and shot 53.6 percent from the field while running and hiding from the Nuggets.

"It was one of the smartest played games I've seen played in the league all year long by our guys," coach Rick Carlisle said. "Very disciplined, aggressive, but not frantic, and moved the ball the way we had to."

Nowitzki led the way for the Mavs with 33 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Brandan Wright finished with a season-high 15 points and six rebounds, Rodrigue Beaubois collected 14 points and six assists, Vince Carter had 14 points and six rebounds, Ian Mahinmi contributed 11 points and five rebounds, Jason Terry scored 10 points, and Jason Kidd pitched in with seven points, 10 assists and four steals.

Even Lamar Odom got in on the celebration, finishing with six points, four assists and a season-high nine rebounds while drawing high praise from Carlisle.

"I thought Odom played a terrific all-around game," Carlisle said. "He just made a lot of really good things happen, and had a strong presence on the defensive boards."

In winning both games in Denver in the same season for the first time since the 2002-03 season, the Mavs padded their record to 27-20 going into Wednesday's home game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Mavs led 33-29 after the first period and 63-56 at intermission. Dallas tallied the first nine points of the third period, then steadily built its lead to as many as 22 points before garbage time came midway through the fourth quarter.

"Our entire team did a really good job of reading situations all night long," Carlisle said. "Beaubois had a slow start, but in the second half hit some big shots and had some really big plays for us."

And then there was Nowitzki. In scoring at least 27 points for the fourth consecutive game, the 11-time All-Star has carried the Mavericks.

Nowitzki had 18 points by halftime and kept up the pace in the second half.

"For some reason we were really shooting the ball well and moving the ball," Nowitzki said. "It's a fun way to play -- everybody touches, and that's how we were successful last year."

In addition to their pinpoint passes and dead-eye shooting, the Mavs beat the Nuggets on the boards, 45-35. They were hustling all night, diving for loose balls, and playing with a purpose.

"Defensively, we've been playing great, helping each other and taking pride individually as well as being there for the help," Carter said. "On offense we have been moving the ball.

"Dirk has been getting it and when teams have doubled he's done a great job of getting rid of the ball and trusting that we will make shots."

Kidd, meanwhile, was the floor general who set the tone. It's the fifth time this season Kidd has had double-digit assists, including back-to-back games for the second time.

"He was orchestrating all night long," Carlisle said. "He had the game under control.

"We knew that we were going to have to be aggressive but extremely smart against these guys, because if you get into the frantic windshield wiper game, they'll put up 129 [points] in a blink. It was all about making sure we had plays before we made them, keeping the ball moving and getting great shots."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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