Mavericks 102, Nuggets 84

Shawn Marion is becoming quite a shut-down defender for the

Dallas Mavericks while still contributing on offense.

Marion had game highs of 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists,

and the 6-foot-7 forward also helped to frustrate Denver’s top

scoring threat as the Mavericks stretched their winning streak to

five with a 102-84 victory over the Nuggets on Wednesday night.

Dallas once again often used Marion to help defend the

opponent’s best offensive option. Ty Lawson finished with only

three points on 1-of-8 shooting.

”Lawson’s penetration is something everybody in the league is

trying to solve. … We had good concentration, kept him from

shredding us on the inside,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.

”Marion’s versatility on the defensive end came up huge for


Marion led six Mavericks who scored in double figures on a night

when the team was already without two guards before Delonte West

broke his finger in the second quarter. The defending NBA champions

matched their longest winning streak of the season.

”Everybody who put on a uniform contributed,” Marion said.

”We came out aggressive and attacked them and had them on their


Dallas jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the first 3 minutes and was

never really challenged.

Lawson finished 13 points below his scoring average and the

Nuggets shot a season-low 36 percent (30 of 84) with their

worst-scoring half followed by their lowest-scoring quarter. They

came in as the league’s highest-scoring team at 104 points per


The Mavericks’ winning streak, coming after a three-day break

that followed three losses in a row, includes a victory Monday

night over the Los Angeles Clippers when Carlisle had Marion

guarding point guard Chris Paul to start the game.

”Dallas has turned into an incredibly good defensive team,”

Denver coach George Karl said.

Vince Carter had 15 points for the Mavericks. Lamar Odom scored

14, Jason Kidd 13, Dirk Nowitzki 12 and Brandon Wright 10. All the

starters played fewer than 27 minutes.

Rudy Fernandez led the Nuggets with 14 points. Al Harrington,

another reserve, had 13.

”We struggled on offense and that affected our defense,”

Harrington said. ”They were just a better team tonight and we’ve

got to move on.”

Kidd had consecutive 3-pointers, one from the top of the key and

the other from the right corner, to cap a 16-3 run that pushed the

Mavericks ahead 72-49 with 4:20 left in the third quarter.

Denver trailed 51-39 after its lowest-scoring first half of the

season. The Nuggets followed that in the third quarter by scoring

only 15 points, their fewest in any period this season.

”We were struggling to find points,” Karl said.

At the same time, Dallas had its highest-scoring third quarter

of the season, piling up 32 points to push ahead 83-54.

Already without guards Jason Terry (strained right quad) and

Rodrigue Beaubois (personal reasons), West went down with an ugly

injury to his right ring finger. Blood was clearly visible after he

fractured and dislocated his finger while playing defense.

”He’s going to be out for a while,” Carlisle said.

While Terry’s injury isn’t thought to be serious, Carlisle had

already said he would also miss Friday night’s game at Philadelphia

because of a ”personal situation.”

Denver was still without Nene (left calf strain), center Timofey

Mozgov (left ankle sprain) and forward Danilo Gallinari (left ankle


In a sign of things to come for the Mavs, four players scored in

the opening 9-1 stretch.

Carter had two free throws less than a minute into the game to

put Dallas ahead to stay before Kidd converted a steal by Carter

into a 3-pointer. Nowitzki and Marion followed with jumpers.

Odom’s putback of his own miss made it 11-4.

On the next Dallas possession, Odom became the first Mavericks

player to score consecutive points when he hit a 3.

”Everybody’s getting better and better as far as their game and

their conditioning,” Odom said. ”We’re having fun playing


Notes: Nuggets F Corey Brewer received his championship ring

from the Mavericks before the game. Brewer, a bench player during

Dallas’ playoff run last season, was acquired from the Mavericks in

a trade on Dec. 13. He had nine points. Caron Butler, now with the

Clippers, got his ring Monday night when Los Angeles was in town.

… Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has stepped in to save an annual St.

Patrick’s Day parade in Dallas, writing a $40,000 check to ensure

the parade that has been held since 1979 goes on. ”I figured I had

lost enough brain cells there, everybody else should get that

opportunity, too,” Cuban joked before the game.