With three players back in the starting lineup and giving them a much fresher look, the Dallas Mavericks showed the Denver Nuggets just how efficient they are when they have a full lineup.
Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler and Rajon Rondo combined for 38 points and 34 rebounds as the Mavs led from wire-to-wire Friday night and defeated the Nuggets 97-89 at American Airlines Center.
The win gives the Mavs a 28-13 record at the midway point of the season. It’s their best record at the halfway mark since they also posted a 28-13 record during the 2009-’10 season.
Exhibiting more pep than the lackluster performance they displayed during Wednesday’s 114-107 loss in Denver, the Mavs won for the eighth time in their past 11 games.
And after getting plastered by the Nuggets on the backboards 51-39 Wednesday night in the mile-high altitude in Denver, the Mavs remained even with the Nuggets in Friday’s low altitude at 52-52.
“Having Tyson back out there certainly is a huge factor — him getting 16 boards,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We had other guys who stepped up.
“We’re a collection of parts that’s got to function well together. Everybody on the roster can bring something of value to the team, so everybody’s got to stay ready.”
Nowitzki and Chandler didn’t play Wednesday because the Mavs rested them on the second night of a back-to-back. Rondo, meanwhile, sat out Wednesday’s game with a sore left Achilles tendon.
But with all hands on deck Friday night, the Mavs broke out to a 10-2 lead and never gave the Nuggets much air to breathe. All 10 points came from Nowitzki, who finished with 25 points and nine rebounds.
“I started really strong and then faded away really strong after that, but I had a good rhythm,” Nowitzki said. “We got some stops, in transition they had some trouble finding us, and I was able to knock some shots down.
“But overall I think if we hold teams to under 90 points at home, that’s obviously great for us. That’s the way we win.”
The Mavs also won because Chandler scored 11 points to go with his 16 rebounds; Chandler Parsons had 18 points, seven rebounds and a massive dunk over J.J. Hickson; Monta Ellis added 14 points; and Rondo chipped in with eight assists and nine rebounds.
“I was just aggressive,” Parsons said of his dunk. “Lately I’ve been missing a lot of chippies, a lot of layups, and I just wanted to finish strong.”
Carlisle also praised the play of Al-Farouq Aminu, who had eight points and five rebounds in 18 minutes.
“I thought Aminu was really a key guy in this game,” Carlisle said. “He really didn’t shoot the ball great.
“He got eight points and he got five rebounds in limited minutes, and he defended well and he ran well.”
The Mavs led 49-42 at the half and used a 16-3 run to go up 60-44 midway through the third period. Dallas also held Ty Lawson to just 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting after he burned them for 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting Wednesday night.
“He’s such a dangerous guy,” Carlisle said. “He’s lethal getting to the rim, he’s shooting 3s great in recent games, he gets other guys involved and he hits guys on rolls to the basket.
“Rondo, [J.J.] Barea and [Devin] Harris all did a solid job on Lawson.”
That solid job helped the Mavs reach the midway point with a relaxed mind.
“The boys really played well and competed hard,” Nowitzki said. “That was a tough one [Wednesday in Denver], but today we wanted to set the tone.
“The starting five was back together and the good start kind of carried us through.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760