Two Ways for the Denver Nuggets to Beat the Dallas Mavericks

Oct 21, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Deron Williams (8) defends Denver Nuggets guard Jameer Nelson (1) in the third quarter at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 101-75. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After a much-needed win over the Orlando Magic, the Denver Nuggets head to Dallas to take on Harrison Barnes and the Mavericks.

The Denver Nuggets are fresh off a key victory over the Orlando Magic, which ended a two-game losing streak for the Nuggets. It was a hard-fought game until the very final minutes of the game, and it nearly added on to the Nuggets’ heartbreaker season total.

The Nuggets were leading by 7 points going into halftime, but the Magic went on an absolute tear to start the second half. Orlando outscored Denver by 10 points in the third quarter of action, which gave them a 3 point lead heading into the final twelve minutes of action. Thankfully, the Nuggets recovered mightily within the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter and they never trailed again after the four minutes remaining mark.

The Nuggets were led in scoring by Danilo Gallinari (21 points), boards by Kenneth Faried (10 rebounds) and dimes by Nikola Jokic (6 assists). You can read more about this game, in a post by Taylor Hunt, right here.

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Next up for the Denver Nuggets is another road game, this time against the Dallas Mavericks. This game will be the final game of a six-game road stretch for the Nuggets. Notable inactive players for the Mavericks include: Dirk Nowitzki (right Achilles strain), Andrew Bogut (right knee) and  J.J. Barea (left calf strain). Notable Nuggets who are expected to be inactive include: Gary Harris (foot) and Wilson Chandler (hip).

This game is scheduled to tip-off at 6:30 PM Mountain Time, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

The Nuggets are looking to get what would only be their second winning streak of this season. If they really want to win this one, then it might be smart to do the following:

Nov 27, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) and forward Nikola Jokic (15) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Nuggets defeated the Suns 118-114. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Go Big, or Go Home… Literally

The first thing that the Denver Nuggets should be looking to do against the Dallas Mavericks, is to use their height as an advantage. Honestly, this is really a no-brainer because the Mavericks will likely be without Dirk Nowitzki and Andrew Bogut. Both of whom are arguably their best big-men.

That means that Denver will need to find a way to balance the minutes of all their big-men, in order to wear down Dallas’ frontcourt. So, expect a solid amount of court time from players like Nikola Jokic, Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, Jusuf Nurkic and even Juancho Hernangomez.

As a matter of fact, this may be another great opportunity for Mike Malone to experiment with the Jurkic combo. For those who don’t already know, Jurkic is the duo of Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic. They are two incredibly promising young big-men, who everyone hoped would be a solid foundation for the Nuggets going forward. However, those who already know about the duo probably already know that they haven’t been very effective this season.

When they’re on the floor together, their numbers are sub-par to say the least. It also doesn’t help that they’ve both played fairly well apart from each other. But this game against the Mavericks may be different.

Dallas will be without their best interior defender, and they’ll be down two players in their frontcourt. So it seems pretty obvious for the Nuggets to once again, try to make this work.

Dec 9, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes (40) shoots prior to the game against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Play Heavy Man-to-Man on Harrison Barnes

If the Mavericks are going to be without Dirk Nowitzki, then the Nuggets would be wise to shift most of their attention to Harrison Barnes. How, might you ask, will they be able to stop Barnes? Well, the best way to slow down a player like Barnes is to force him into taking bad shots.

Whenever Barnes has the ball in his hands, Denver will need to guard him very close. Closer than they would normally do for an opposing wing. That also means double-teaming him on drives if they ever decide to play small-ball. But that also means that they’ll need to be watching him very closely when he doesn’t have the ball too.

Essentially, the Nuggets have to look to seriously exhaust Harrison Barnes.

Unfortunately for Denver, they will likely be without both Gary Harris and Wilson Chandler. Both of whom are considered as two of the best perimeter defenders on the Nuggets. That could mean a minutes increase for Alonzo Gee, or maybe even that Darrell Arthur will have to see some court time as a wing.

Either way, Denver is going to have to find a way to seriously frustrate Barnes if they want to take this one on the road.

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