NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 19 (All times eastern)
Dallas Mavericks (26-20) at Denver Nuggets (25-20), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A pair of Western Conference contenders will jockey for playoff position in the Rocky Mountains on Monday when the Denver Nuggets play host to the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks at the Pepsi Center.
A perfect 3-0 homestand has Dallas in the sixth position out West while the Nuggets are just one-half game behind. Neither team is out of the woods, however, as ninth place Phoenix is just two games south of Denver and 2 1/2 off the Mavs' pace.
Dallas completed its recent residency with a big 106-99 win over Southwest Division-rival San Antonio on Saturday. Dirk Nowitzki poured in 27 points in that one.
Jason Terry scored 17, Rodrigue Beaubois added 16 points and Jason Kidd contributed 14 points with 10 assists for the Mavericks, who are now 4 1/2 games behind the first place Spurs in the division.
"We were to be aggressive, penetrate, make the extra pass, and guys were knocking down shots," Kidd said. "Defensively, we wanted to take away the three, we know how San Antonio can shoot the three so we just tried to take it away, but late in the game they just started knocking them down."
Dallas is a solid 18-7 at home on the season but will be trying to improve on its pedestrian 8-13 road mark against a Nuggets team that is winding down a season-long nine-game homestand.
Denver improved to 4-3 on the residency on Saturday with a 98-91 win over Boston. Rookie Kenneth Faried had 18 points and 16 rebounds in that one as the Nuggets survived a late surge by Boston to take the decision.
Danilo Gallinari added 20 points and Arron Afflalo finished with 15 for Denver, which is now 14-11 as the host this season and will finish the long homestand against Detroit on Wednesday.
"We had to keep fighting, showing grit and toughness," Faried said. "That's what we did tonight."
The Nuggets also expect to have reinforcements tonight. Both JaVale McGee and Wilson Chandler could be in uniform for Monday's game. The athletic McGee was acquired in a trade for Nene last Thursday and Chandler was signed to a five- year deal worth nearly $37 million Sunday after returning from China.
"It is great to have Wilson back on our roster," said Nuggets executive vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri. "It was a very unique situation signing a talented free agent in the middle of the season, and we worked extremely hard to find an agreement that was best for everyone. Wilson will be an excellent addition for the rest of this season and for years to come."
Dallas has won two straight over the Nuggets after dropping the previous four in the series.
03/19 10:35:42 ET