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Wrap Up: Mavs Get Buried Early in Denver, Can’t Recover

by Greg Higgins on March 6, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments


Coming into Wednesday’s game the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers and LA Clippers were the only teams that hadn’t suffered a three-game losing streak. After a 115-110 loss to the Denver Nuggets, you can take Dallas off that list.

How it went down:

Denver jumped out early on the Mavericks and pretty much dominated the game. Dallas played catch-up the entire game after Denver jumped out to a 17-point lead in the first quarter and had a 17-point lead at the half.

Unfortunately for Dallas, every time they would make a run, the Nuggets had an answer for them.  Take the end of the third quarter for instance. Dallas finished the quarter on a 13-2 run and still trailed by six points at 79-73.

Denver opened up the fourth quarter on a 16-2 run to take a 20-point lead. Dallas tried battling back but in the end, they didn’t have enough steam as they fell to the Nuggets by five points.  The frustrating part of the losing streak is the fact that the schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Mavs in the next week.

Inside the Numbers:

Dallas shot eight free throws in the first quarter. They didn’t shoot another free throw until the fourth quarter.

Dallas shot 52.9% to 46.8% for Denver. Dallas outscored the Nuggets in the paint also: 62-46.

Impact Play of the Game:

After cutting the lead to six, Wilson Chandler scored five points and grabbed three rebounds in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter. The Nuggets would outscore the Mavs 16-2 to start the fourth quarter to take a 20 point lead.

Step Up Mav of the Night:


Dirk and BWright

It’s hard to pick a step-up Mav when they play like this but Dirk did everything he can to try and keep his team in the game. Dirk finished with 27 points on 13-20 shooting. He also grabbed seven rebounds to lead the team.



Brandan Wright also did his best in a losing effort, one of the few Mavs players who played with energy throughout the night leading to one of his best games of the season. BWright finished the evening with 18 points (9-of-13 FG) three boards and two blocks.

What They Said:


Dirk: “Are we worried? Sure. Are we going to do anything about it? We’ll see this weekend.”
3/6/14 12:25 AM


“Give them credit. You’ve got to play 48 (minutes). — #Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, lamenting tonight’s 115-110 loss to the lowly #Nuggets
3/6/14 12:03 AM


On Deck:

Dallas returns home to play the Portland Trailblazers on Friday night. The game can be seen on FSSW at 7:30.



Playoff Watch:


6. Golden State Warriors (38-24) | Next 3 – ATL; PHX; DAL

7. Phoenix Suns (35-25) |  Next 3 – OKC; at GSW; at LAC

8. DALLAS MAVERICKS (36-26) | Next 3 – POR; IND; at GSW

9. Memphis Grizzlies (34-26) | Next 3 – at CHI; CHA; POR

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Game Night: Mavs Look To Avoid First 3-Game Losing Streak

by Terence Huie on March 5, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments


The Dallas Mavericks (36-25) fly up to the Mile-High City to take on the Denver Nuggets (25-34).

The Game At Hand:

Dallas, trying to prevent a possible three-game losing streak, has won four of their last six games. It’s been a tough streak the last few days, including a heartbreak loss to the division rival San Antonio Spurs. A win tonight is crucial with the Pheonix Suns breathing down the Mavs’ neck for the 7th seed spot in the Western Conference.

The Nuggets are surprisingly one of the bottom feeders in the Western Conference this season. Their questionable off-season moves, like firing George Karl, is one reason for their atrocious performances on the court. Denver is currently on a six-game losing streak, losing 11 of their last 12 games. Not to mention, the Nuggets are plagued with injuries this year. This team has a huge hole in their roster with Danilo Gallinari, Javale McGee, and Nate Robinson placed with season-ending injuries.

Keys To The Game:

1. Rebound - Rebounding has been one of the many struggles for the Dallas Mavericks this year. Referring to the defeat versus the Spurs on Sunday night, the Mavs gave some key offensive rebounds down the stretch of the fourth quarter. The key is for the big men to crash and box out guys like Nuggets’ center JJ Hickson on defense. Hickson ranked 10th in the league in total offensive rebounds and averages 9.8 rebounds per game.

2. Capitalize on Free Throws – For a Dallas Mavs team that averages shooting 80% from the free throw line, the last two games have been gruesome to watch seeing these guys miss free throws. Dallas shot 64% (9 for 14) and 70% (12 for 17) against the Spurs and Bulls respectively. It’s important to shoot above 82% from the charity stripe to win tonight.

VinceThe X-FACTOR:

Vince Carter

Vince Carter maybe be 37 years old, but he has been playing similar to the days where he was known as “Half-Man, Half-Amazing”. No, Carter isn’t doing windmill dunks in transition, but he has turned heads with his efficient scoring during the last few games. In the last 10 games, Carter has averaged 14.9 points a game and shooting 47% from behind the arc. It may not the usual 25+ points that he averaged with the Raptors and Nets, but his contribution off the bench for the Mavs has caught some attention. Expect a good game from Carter tonight.

When and Where:

Tip-off starts tonight in the Pepsi Center at 7 pm CST and will be televised on ESPN.

Photo Credit: Jerome Miron – USA TODAY Sports



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Wrap Up: Mavs Can’t Pull Off Comeback, Fall To Nuggets

by Greg Higgins on November 24, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

Wrap Up

The Dallas Mavericks (9-5) tried it’s best to earn a sweep in a back-to-back game for the first time this season on Saturday night. However, playing on Friday at home and then traveling to Denver to play the Nuggets (6-6) proved too much as they would ultimately fall 102-100.

How it went down: The game opened up the way the Mavs wanted it to as they seemed to keep control of the game. With a 16-13 lead, though, Denver would go on an 19-7 run to close out the quarter. The second quarter wouldn’t get much better for Dallas as they fell behind by 17 in the frame. It was so bad that Rick Carlisle received two technical fouls and got ejected with 5:17 left.

AS Dallas proved earlier in the week against the Houston Rockets, you can’t count them out of a game. Dallas started mounting their comeback in the third quarter. Vince Carter sparked the Mavs in the frame as he scored 11 points in the third quarter. Carter also hit all three of his three-point shots he took.

The Mavs continued to fight back against Denver in the final quarter, and they took the lead with 2:02 left on a Dirk Nowitzki jumper. Denver had an answer though as Randy Foye hit a three-pointer to put the Nuggets up one with just over a minute to play.

The loss breaks the Mavericks four-game winning streak. Dirk finished the game with 27 points to lead all scorers and Monta Ellis added 25 for Dallas. DeJuan Blair almost finished with a double-double for Dallas as he had eight points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes of action.

Inside the Numbers: Dallas, who averages 47.7% shooting from the field only shot 40.2% agains the Nuggets.

Denver outrebounded Dallas 44-39. Dallas is now 2-4 in games in which they get outrebounded by their opponents.

Impact Play of the Game: After Dirk hit a jumper with two minutes to play, Dallas had a 100-98 lead. Foye hit a three pointer from the wing that put the Denver up for good. Denver had missed their previous seven from beyond the arc before that jumper.

Step-Up Mav of the Night: Vince Carter

Vince scored 16 points for Dallas with fourteen of them coming in the second half. He was influential in helping to bring Dallas back from the 17 point deficit.


“We did everything we were supposed to do, we just didn’t make the shots.” – Monta Ellis


“I thought the foul was excessive. I thought he fouled him and he came down on him extra hard. I’m going to stand up for my players.” – Rick Carlisle, on the hard foul on Ellis


On Deck: Dallas will face the Nuggets again on Monday night in the second game of a home-and-home series. The game will start at 7:30 and can be seen on FSSW.


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Mavs Game Night: Dallas Storms Out Early, Holds On Late

by Greg Higgins on November 23, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

Wrap Up

The Dallas Mavericks (9-4) were able to avoid a late fourth-quarter comeback on Friday to remain perfect at home as the defeated the Utah Jazz (1-13) 103-93.

How it went down: Dallas did exactly what they need to do to a team that has only one win on the season – they pounced early. Dallas jumped out to a 31-18 lead after the first quarter thanks to five turnovers from the Jazz and the Mavericks shooting almost 60% from the field.

The second quarter only got worse for the Jazz as the Mavericks kept shooting lights out. They shot 58.8% in the second quarter and jumped out to a 28-point lead at one point.  Utah had committed 13 turnovers at the break which had aled to 18 points for Dallas. The defense held the Jazz to only 38.9% for the half.

The second half was a little different sotry, though, the Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin decided to shake things up. He sat the normal starters down and inserted some bench players. Marvin Williams provided a spark by scoring 12 of the teams’ 30 points in the quarter while Dallas only had 22 in the frame.

The fourth quarter provided more drama than Mavs fans wanted as the Jazz cut the lead down to five points with just under five minutes left to play in the game. After a Rick Carlisle timeout the Mavs were able to steady the ship and pull out to a comfortable lead, before finally winning by ten.  Monta Ellis led the way for Dallas with 26 points.

Inside the Numbers: The 7-0 start at home is the fourth best start in Mavericks history at home.

Monta Ellis has led the team in scoring in 10 of the 14 games and seven times in assists.

Impact Play of the Game: With 4:41 left in the game, Utah cut the lead to five and Carlisle called a timeout. He inserted Dirk Nowitzki back into the game. After the timeout, Dallas went on a 10-2 run and put the game out of reach for Utah.

Step-Up Mav of the Night: Samuel Dalembert

Dalembert recorded his first double-double of the season for Dallas as he had 18 points and 12 rebounds. It was the second half, though , where he really stepped up for the Mavs. Ten of his points and eight of his rebounds came in the second half when Dallas was trying to fight off a rally from the Jazz.


“It was disappointing, but wins are hard to get, so it’s a good win from that perspective. Our execution was poor in the second half at both ends. It was pretty obvious. But hey, right now we’ve got to get on a plane and play another team. That’s where we are.” – Rick Carlisle


“We got outside of our game and had a lot of turnovers. I think on the defensive end we played a little hesitant. They made shots, got out and ran, and they continued to play.”  – Monta Ellis

On Deck: The Mavs will take head to Denver to take on the Nuggets on the first night of a home and home series. The game can be seen locally on FSSW at 8 pm on Saturday night.


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Mock Draft: Mavs Fanatic First Round 1.0

by Damian Jackson on June 6, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments


The NBA Draft is three weeks away and player workouts have prospects shifting positions on a daily basis. It’s time that we break out our first edition of the Mock Draft and share our thoughts on who we think will go where based on team need, workout impressions and daily reports.



1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Nerlens Noel, C Kentucky | Ht: 6’11” Wt: 206

Noel has long been slotted as the top pick in this year’s draft and that hasn’t changed. Expect the Cavs to select the slender defensive center who’s aiming for a December return to the court.



2. Orlando Magic – Ben McLemore, SG Kansas | Ht: 6’5″ Wt: 188

McLemore has a pure jump shot and great size at SG for the NBA. Along with his shooting, Ben is an incredible athlete and many say he’s likely to be an All-Star level player for years. The Magic need that scoring infusion and McLemore can be that guy.



3. Washington Wizards – Otto Porter, SF Georgetown | Ht: 6’9″ Wt: 198

Otto Porter wins the Naismith College Player of the Year award if not for Trey Burke’s very impressive run in the tournament. Porter has an all-around game with intangibles that make him as NBA-ready an anyone in this class. Wizards keep Otto in DC.



4. Charlotte Bobcats – Alex Len, C Maryland | Ht: 7’1″ Wt: 255

Alex Len provides the Bobcats a center they need. With Byron Mullens likely gone it leaves Brendan Haywood. Bismack Biyombo could move to PF while Len offers Charlotte a solid defensive anchor in the middle who isn’t offensively challenged.



5. Phoenix Suns – Victor Oladipo, SG Indiana | Ht: 6’4″ Wt: 213

The Suns need stability. Victor Oladipo helps in that regard, he’s a relentless worker and plays hard on both ends of the floor. Oladipo would infuse energy into the U.S. Airways crowd, a step in the right direction with a new GM and head coach.



6. New Orleans Pelicans – Shabazz Muhammad, SF UCLA | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 222

ShaMu this high?! The popular pick is Trey Burke, but they do have the 6-foot-6 Greivis Vasquez running point who averaged 9.0 assists in 78 games last season. The Pelicans have a more pressing need at SF and Shabazz could be the right guy.



7. Sacramento Kings – Anthony Bennett, PF UNLV | Ht: 6’8″ Wt: 240

Kings need a PG more, but it’d be tough to pass on Bennett if he were to drop here. says Bennett may have the most star potential in the draft, but is he a tweener? Sneaky skilled for a PF-type, AB would compliment Boogie Cousins well.



8. Detroit Pistons – Trey Burke, PG Michigan | Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 187

It’s no secret the Pistons want a PG. Michael Carter-Williams could be the choice, but with   Wolverine and College Player of the Year Burke available they may go that route. Burke’s heart and competitiveness would be welcomed in Detroit.



9. Minnesota Timberwolves – C.J. McCollum, PG/SG Lehigh | Ht: 6’3″ Wt: 197

McCollum makes perfect sense for the Wolves. A combo guard with advanced scoring ability and versatility. The foot injury no longer an issue, McCollum would step in next to Ricky Rubio and relieve some of Kevin Love’s scoring responsibilities.



10. Portland Trail Blazers – Steven Adams, C Pittsburgh | Ht: 6’11” Wt: 235

Portland hit a homerun (Damian Lillard) and a ground out (Meyers Leonard) in last year’s lottery. Steven Adams represents a true NBA center with his physical tools, rebounding and defense. Tons of upside and an solid fit next to LaMarcus Aldridge.



11. Philadelphia 76ers – Cody Zeller, PF/C Indiana | Ht: 7’0″ Wt: 230

Some have the Blazers snagging Zeller, but he’ll be more of a PF in the NBA. Either way the Sixers will be satisfied to see Zeller fall to them. Cody showed impressive athleticism at the combine and he’d be able to play the 4/5 in Philly.



12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Mason Plumlee, C Duke | Ht: 7’0″ Wt: 238

OKC could go in several directions with this pick, but smart money says they address the center position. Kendrick Perkins has been disappointing. Plumlee gives the Thunder an explosive big who rebounds very well and finishes with authority above the rim.



13. Dallas Mavericks – Michael Carter-Williams, PG Syracuse | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 185

The Mavs have their eye set on Carter-Williams. If he makes it to 13, they draft him. His size is special for the position and he owns the best court vision and PG instincts in this class. MCW would be nice addition if Dallas whiffs on Chris Paul.



14. Utah Jazz – Dennis Schröder, PG Germany | Ht: 6’2″ Wt: 165

Utah has strong interest in Schröder to replace free agent Mo Williams. The 19-year-old PG has a lot of Rajon Rondo in his repertoire. Reports say he received a promise from the Boston Celtics, but he may not make it that far.



15. Milwaukee Bucks – Jamaal Franklin, SG San Diego State | Ht: 6’5″ Wt: 191

The Bucks face a lot of uncertainties in their backcourt. If Brandon Jennings stays, Milwaukee could use help on the wing. Franklin fits the bill as an above average rebounder, elite athlete and plays aggressive on offense and defense.



16. Boston Celtics – Gorgui Dieng, C Louisville | Ht: 6’11” Wt: 230

With Schröder likely gone, the Celtics could switch gears and find a center. Dieng owns NBA center size and is skilled defensively. There are other options, but many scouts are high on Dieng ability to contribute immediately.



17. Atlanta Hawks – Dario Saric, SF Croatia | Ht: 6’10” Wt: 223

Saric is believed to be the draft’s top international prospect and could go as high as No. 6 to the Pelicans. Naturally this would be quite to steal for the Hawks who will be carefully utilizing their cap space this summer. Saric to withdraw from the draft?



18. Atlanta Hawks – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG Georgia | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 204

The Hawks’ only guards with guaranteed deals are Lou Williams (ACL) and John Jenkins. There’s buzz about Caldwell-Pope and this seems like a good fit for both parties. Hometown kid stays around and Hawks get a legit all-around player.



19. Cleveland Cavaliers – Sergey Karasev, SG/SF Russia | Ht: 6’7″ Wt: 197

According to reports, sounds like Karasev’s already received a promise and word out there says this is the floor for Karasev. The Cavs really like him. He provides Cleveland a player with immense shooting ability and the size to play either wing position.



20. Chicago Bulls – Kelly Olynyk, PF/C Gonzaga | Ht: 7’0″ Wt: 238

A slide of sorts for Olynyk, but he could still crack the lottery. If the Bulls consider amnesty with Carlos Boozer, the Gonzaga product provides Chicago an ample replacement (along w/ Taj Gibson) whose skill set fit an NBA four.



21. Utah Jazz – Rudy Gobert, C France | Ht: 7’2″ Wt: 238

The Jazz could double dip in international waters by going Gobert after Schroder. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are set to leave, so Utah could be enticed to take Gobert as a development behind ripe big men Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors.



22. Brooklyn Nets – Tony Mitchell, PF North Texas | Ht: 6’9″ Wt: 237

Mitchell is scheduled to work out for city rival NY Knicks tomorrow, but the Nets have interest as well. Brooklyn could use a PG unless they trust TyShawn Taylor as Deron Williams’ backup. Mitchell’s stock is on the rise nonetheless.



23. Indiana Pacers – Shane Larkin, PG Miami | Ht: 6’0″ Wt: 171

This would be too sweet for the Pacers. Point guard is an area of need and Larkin falling in their lap is a miracle. Chances of it happening are slim though as he could go as high as 14th or 15th to the Jazz or Bucks.



24. New York Knicks – Jeff Withey, C Kansas | Ht: 7’0″ Wt: 222

Roy Hibbert’s size was too much for Tyson Chandler and the Knicks. Marcus Camby doesn’t play anymore, Kenyon Martin was too small. Withey plugs in as the immediate backup with great basketball knowledge, physical tools and shot-blocking.



25. Los Angeles Clippers – Allen Crabbe, SG California | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 198

Crabbe is a talented player with a terrific stroke. The Clippers believe Chris Paul isn’t going anywhere and it’s always wise to surround a PG with shooters. Crabbe works well off screens and in transition, perfect wing type for a Paul-run offense.



26. Minnesota Timberwolves – Ricky Ledo, SG Providence | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 197

Ledo appears to be the mystery and possible best sleeper of the draft. Someone mentioned he had a Kevin Durant-like shot and it’s not far off. He looks like a top-notch scorer and special wing this late in the first round. Minny can use ‘em!



27. Denver Nuggets – Glen Rice Jr., SF Rio Grande Valley (NBDL) | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 211

Glen Rice Jr. looks to go from the D-League to the NBA by way of draft. The Nuggets who recently severed ties with George Karl will probably lose SG Andre Iguodala to free agency and seek his replacement. Denver will like that Rice Jr. is ready NOW.



28. San Antonio Spurs – Lucas Nogueira, C Brazil | Ht: 6’11” Wt: 215

With already one Brazlian center on the roster in Tiago Splitter, the Spurs may entertain the idea of selecting Nogueira and stash him away for a year or two. This gives Lucas time to advance his skills and the Spurs to prep a role for him down the road.



29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Tim Hardaway Jr., SG Michigan | Ht: 6’6″ Wt: 200

The Thunder addressed a vital need in the lottery, but could seek a cheaper SG option here rather than retain free agent Kevin Martin. OKC still has Jeremy Lamb as well and could have two younger, more affordable guard competition in camp.



30. Phoenix Suns – Giannis Adetokunbo, SF/PF Greece | Ht: 6’9″ Wt: 196

Adetokunbo this late would be amazing for the Suns, who want to ignite new enthusiasm to it’s fan base. He brings different elements to the game than any Suns forward. Channing Frye remains a health concern and there’s zero faith in Michael Beasley.





Damian Jackson is a partner at Mavs Fanatic. Follow Damian on Twitter @thedfactor and like our site’s page on Facebook.


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Mavs Game Night: Mile High Road to Playoffs

by Damian Jackson on April 4, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments


Over the next five games the Dallas Mavericks will play the Denver Nuggets twice, tonight in Denver and next Friday in Dallas. The Mavericks come off a miserable 101-81 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday in a game that held the utmost playoff implications to date. Kobe Bryant recorded a triple double (23 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) in nearly all 48 minutes of the game.

“It is a hit. It is a game we needed,” Carlisle said. “I mean, Dirk (Nowitzki) understands what this stage is about. We have some inexperienced guys that haven’t been here, so this is a valuable learning experience for them, but it has a price.”











Dallas did have five players score in double digits, but none more than 14 points from Chris Kaman. The Lakers sorely out-rebounded the Mavs 57-37.

The fallout has the Mavericks now 2.5 games behind the Lakers and 2 game back of the Utah Jazz (Utah lost 113-96 to Denver last night). The important factor now remains the Lakers and Jazz both hold the tiebreaker over the Mavericks.

Denver left Utah with an impressive road win without their starting point guard Ty Lawson. Lawson has been out with a plantar fasciitis tear. Andre Miller filled in and led the Nuggets attack. In their past seven games Miller has averaged 14.3 points and 6.4 assists.

The Nuggets pride themselves on their depth of very good players, but without that one star. Without Lawson they still had 7 players score 10 or more in the win at Utah. Danilo Gallinari led with 21 points while Kenneth Faried had 19 and rookie Evan Fournier added 18 off the bench.

A few days before the New Year, Denver beat the Mavs by 21 in Dallas. This one brings up the article that our very own Tony Clayton wrote on opponents having career nights against the Mavericks. Gallinari went off for his own with a 39-point explosion. Faried hauled in 19 rebounds to lead the Nuggets’ domination on the boards 60 to Dallas’ 43.

Something special will need to happen in Denver tonight. The Nuggets own the NBA’s best home record at an incredible 33-3! That’s insanely impressive and ahead of the Miami Heat’s 32-4 mark. The Mavs are only 14-23 away from home so put the two together and you have Denver as a vastly superior favorite in this game.

Josh Akognon signed to a 10-day contract Wednesday and will be with the Mavs tonight.



Playoff Picture Update:

MAVERICKS – 10th seed in West; 2.5 GB of the Los Angeles Lakers (8th) and 2.0 GB of Utah Jazz (9th) for final playoff spot.






NUGGETS – 3rd seed in West; 3.5 GB of the Oklahoma City Thunder (2nd) and 1.5 games ahead of 4th seeded Los Angeles Clippers.






Mavericks at Nuggets tip at 8:00 p.m. CT and airs on FSSW/ALT2.

Let’s Go Mavs!

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Nuggets Put Lakers On The Edge

by Ryan Wilson on May 11, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

The upstart Denver Nuggets are one win from running the lumberingLos Angeles Lakers and their star-studded cast right out of the playoffs.

Ty Lawson scored 32 points, fellow spark plug Corey Brewer added 18 and the free-wheeling, too-young-to-scare Nuggets forced a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series with a dominating 113-96 win Thursday night.

“This is the biggest game he’s ever played in, and Saturday will be even bigger,” Nuggets coach George Karl said of Lawson, whose 32 points were a career playoff high.

The decisive game is Saturday night at Staples Center, Denver’s first all-or-nothing showdown since losing to Utah in Game 7 of the 1994 Western Conference semifinals. But it would be a mistake to think the young team will cave under the pressure of a win-or-go-home scenario.

The Nuggets have not only held their own against the Lakers, but they have made them look old, not experienced.

Kobe Bryant followed his 43-point outburst in Game 5 with 31 points in 3 1/2 quarters despite a sour stomach that he said left his hotel room “looking like a scene from ‘The Exorcist,'” and that prevented him from attending the Lakers’ morning shootaround and forced him to take intravenous fluids all day.

Bryant’s teammates felt even worse — for letting him down, especially fellow starsAndrew Bynum, who made just four of 11 shots for 11 points, and Pau Gasol, who was 1-for-10 for three points with three rebounds.

Asked whether he felt his teammates had matched his heart, Bryant retorted, “No, of course they didn’t.””We didn’t step up and meet [the Nuggets'] energy,” Bryant said, and by “we” he meant Bynum and Gasol. “They know that. I expect them to come out Game 7, and play with a sense of urgency and a sense of desperation that wasn’t there the last two games.”

If not, the Lakers will be hitting the links next week instead of the boards.

“Kobe being dehydrated and all that and sick as a dog, coming out and trying to will us to a win, it’s disappointing to watch him give that type of effort … and we don’t get it from everybody,” Lakers coach Mike Brown said. “Our second- and third-best players are Drew and Pau, and the reality is both of those guys got to play better in order for us to win.”

Bryant said he was eager for Metta World Peace‘s return to the lineup Saturday night. The fiery forward served the final game of his seven-game suspension for elbowing Oklahoma City’s James Harden in the head last month. He’s been practicing with the Lakers but left the arena before games.

“I expect him to come out and play with the tenacity that he’s known for,” Bryant said. “He’s the one guy that I can rely on night in and night out to compete and play hard and play with a sense of urgency and play with no fear. So, I’m looking forward to having him by my side again.”

If that was another shot at Bynum and Gasol, so be it. Bryant was loud and clear over his disgust with their lack of effort, energy and effectiveness.

“I talked with Pau a little bit after the game; I’ll speak with Andrew, too,” about performing better both physically and mentally in Game 7, Bryant said.

Bryant took a seat for good with Los Angeles down 101-73 with 7:52 remaining.

The younger but deeper Nuggets have won three of four since dropping the first two games in Los Angeles, and they did it by once again outrunning and outgunning their more talented counterparts who prefer a half-court game and not the frenetic pace and pickup-game style employed by the Nuggets’ greenhorns, who are on their second major makeover in 15 months.

The Nuggets got another great game from rookie Kenneth Faried, who provided even more energy as well as 15 points and 11 rebounds. Danilo Gallinari and Andre Miller each had 12 points for Denver, which led 90-68 heading into the fourth quarter.

Brewer iced this one by scoring 11 straight points for Denver to start the fourth quarter, an array of dunks and jumpers that gave the Nuggets their biggest lead at 101-73, and forced the Lakers to throw in the towel and try to rest up Bryant, Bynum and Gasol for Game 7.

Bryant finished the first half with 19 points, but he started out slowly and so did the Lakers, who fell behind 13-0 before Bryant scored more than 3 1/2 minutes into the game.

“They blitzkrieged us at the start of the game,” Bryant said.

Lawson hit all four of his 3s as the Nuggets jumped to a 23-8 lead.

“After I hit my first shot, that’s all I needed was a little confidence,” said Lawson, who hit 13 of 18 shots 24 hours after flying in his shooting coach, Las Vegas-based Ivory Manning, to fix a flaw in his mechanics.

Lawson also scored 19 points in the first half, his basket at the halftime buzzer giving Denver a 54-45 lead after its 15-point cushion had been trimmed to four on Gasol’s only basket, a hook shot that brought the Lakers within 47-43.

Bryant was lumbering a bit on defense, where he got away with several grabs in the first half. In the opening minutes of the third quarter, he was whistled for a flagrant foul after smacking Faried in the head while trying to prevent a fast-break basket.

Although Bryant explained afterward he was going for the ball, and expressed regret over the foul and thanks that Faried wasn’t hurt, the hard foul fired up the Pepsi Center crowd, as well as the Nuggets.

It came during Denver’s 9-0 run to start the second half, a spurt that doubled its nine-point halftime lead in less than 3 minutes and sapped whatever energy the Lakers had left.

Before long, the building was rocking in a blowout as Lawson scored basket after acrobatic basket and the “Beat L.A.!” chants grew ever louder.

Lawson’s 3-pointer from the top of the circle at 1:22 made it 90-65.

Bynum irked the Nuggets by saying on the eve of Game 5 that “close-out games are actually kind of easy,” and the Nuggets found more motivation in something written in the Lakers’ locker room after the game Tuesday night. Scribbled on the grease board was this message: “Flight. 3 pm. Pack for 3 games.”

Brown explained that it only made sense to pack for an extended trip because the next round will start in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder have the home court to open the conference semifinals. But he denied the Lakers were victims of overconfidence, just poor execution.

Indeed, it’s the Nuggets who are walking tall now.

“They played with confidence and swag,” Bynum said.

Two things that the Lakers have misplaced.

Game notes
Earlier Thursday, Nuggets reserve C Chris “Birdman” Andersen was excused indefinitely from all team-related activities after Douglas County sheriff’s deputies searched his home as part of an investigation by the department’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit. … Lawson’s previous playoff best was 27 points against the Thunder on April 25, 2011. His career high is 37 points.



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Lakers Supporting Cast Steps Up

by Ryan Wilson on May 7, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum put up their usual big numbers. Their supporting cast came up even bigger, sealing the Los Angeles Lakers‘ 92-88 victory over Denver on Sunday night that put the Nuggets on the brink of elimination.

Bryant had 22 points and Bynum added 19 to help the Lakers overcome a six-point halftime deficit and take a 3-1 lead in the first-round playoff series that they can wrap up Tuesday night when the series shifts back to Staples Center for Game 5.

Sixth-man Jordan Hill had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and recently acquired guard Ramon Sessionsand reserve point guard Steve Blake each hit crucial 3-pointers in the final minute as the Lakers broke free.

Those were the players the Nuggets preferred had the ball in crunch time, and Bryant wasn’t at all hesitant to oblige.

“Sessions has hit big 3s. Even when I was out he hit some big 3s to win games. He did it again tonight. I have confidence in him,” Bryant said. “If you’re observing the game in the third quarter I hit Sessions for an open shot, Blake for an open shot and (Matt) Barnes for an open shot and they missed all three of them. George (Karl), being observant as he is, saw I was (ticked). I was and didn’t think I would trust them at the end of the game to knock down those shots, but they stepped up and knocked them down.”

With the game tied at 86, Danilo Gallinari was covering Bryant when a hard screen from Pau Gasol sent the Italian to the floor grabbing his throat. While Gallinari stayed down, Sessions’ 3-pointer from just in front of the Nuggets bench put the Lakers ahead 89-86 with 48 seconds remaining.

“It was a tough pick, you’ve got to expect that in the playoffs,” Gallinari said. “I’ve got to be ready and play defense. Unfortunately, they hit a big shot out of that.”

Andre Miller was whistled for basket interference at the other end, and Bryant found Blake for a 3-pointer from the left corner with 18.9 seconds left for a six-point cushion, L.A.’s biggest of the night.

Blake got a bear hug from Bryant during the 20-second timeout.

“Those moments don’t scare him,” Bryant said.

“It’s always good when you get a hug from Kobe. It means you did something right,” Blake said. “It was a total team effort for us tonight.”

Sessions, whose acquisition from Cleveland this spring led to the trade of five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher, finished with 12 points, and Blake had 10.

“They got the two 3s to go down at the end of the game,” Karl said, “but conceptually what we’re trying to do at the end of the game is not let Kobe, Bynum and Gasol beat you.”

Instead, it was Sessions, Blake and Hill that did the damage.

Gallinari led the Nuggets with 20 points, and Miller had 15.

After torching the Lakers for 50 points combined in the previous two games, Ty Lawson was held to 11 points and Nuggets big menKenneth Faried and JaVale McGeeweren’t nearly as effective on offense or disruptive defensively as they were in Game 2, when they combined for 28 points and 30 rebounds.

Together, they had 14 points and 11 rebounds Sunday.

Bynum, who blamed his scoreless first half 48 hours earlier on failing to properly prepare in the pregame, was much more active early on, scoring 11 in the first half, which ended with the Lakers trailing 51-45.

The game was briefly delayed with 1:10 left in the first half when a female fan started walking across the court while the Nuggets were setting up a play. The woman walked several steps onto the court as Lawson brought the ball past halfcourt. Officials blew the whistle to stop the play and the woman was escorted away by security.

The woman, identified as 20-year-old Savannah McMillan-Christmas of Denver, was cited for trespassing.

Al Harrington scored nine points in his return to the Nuggets’ lineup. He started out with a clear face mask protecting his nose that was broken Friday night by an inadvertent elbow from Bynum, but he ditched the mask in a matter of minutes.

Harrington missed his first six shots but then sank four straight, including a 3-pointer that put the Nuggets ahead 76-75 early in the fourth quarter.

The Nuggets, who have hung tough since getting blown out in the series opener, face a daunting task of winning three straight, including two at the Staples Center, where they never led in Games 1 and 2.

“Losing always gets old. Losing is not fun. I’m not unhappy with my team, I’m not happy with where we’re at, but we still have a series to play,” Karl said. “I don’t think it’s an impossible challenge. I think it’s a great challenge for this young team. For me, I’ve been blessed with having great runs in the playoffs and I think I probably have one or two more left in me in my lifetime. I’d like to see it come this year.”

Game notes
Miller stole the ball from Barnes and drew a clear-path foul from Barnes five minutes before halftime. … For the second straight game, McGee’s mother, Pamela McGee, who played in the WNBA, was seated courtside near the Nuggets’ bench. At one point, her son jumped over Bynum, who was whistled for traveling as he found his path to the basket blocked by his counterpart 7-foot center.



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