<
>

Rapid Reaction: Nuggets 115, Mavs 93

How it happened: A 20-0 run happened in the final 6:28 of the second quarter. The Dallas Mavericks can talk about chemistry and assimilating new players all they want, but allowing 69 points in the first half and 97 through three quarters -- after giving up 97 through three quarters Sunday against the Heat -- is hard to excuse. During the Denver run, Dallas went 13 consecutive trips without a point and only an illegal defense allowed Dirk Nowitzki to sink a free throw and end the fatal run.

The Mavs led 15-13 early and then never again. Denver finished the first quarter on a 14-5 run for a nine-point lead. Jason Terry took over as the starter at shooting guard in the second half, replacing Delonte West, who replaced Vince Carter in the second half of Sunday’s opener. It still took Dallas nearly three minutes into the third quarter to score on two free throws from Dirk Nowitzki.

A real kick in the teeth is that Mavs castoff Rudy Fernandez (eight points) outscored Lamar Odom (six points, 10 in two games) and was outscoring Carter (11 points) until late, an unfathomable scenario coming into this one. But, it's just one of the many shocking statistics in a second consecutive game in which Dallas was not competitive beyond the opening few minutes.

The Mavs were again blown out in every major category, getting outrebounded 47-37 and losing points in the paint 40-34, fast-break points 20-12 and points off turnovers 24-14.

What it means: The Mavs are 0-2 for the first time since 2006-07, when they started 0-4 and then went on to reel off 67 wins. In Rick Carlisle’s first season, Dallas bounced back from a 2-7 start to win 50 games. An 0-3 mark is a distinct possibility as the Mavs next face the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road Thursday night. OKC walloped Dallas twice in the preseason.

Play of the game: In what epitomized the Mavs’ effort -- or lack of it -- Nuggets point guard, Andre Miller, all 6-foot-2 of him and at age 35 -- drove the lane with 8:26 to play in the second quarter, couldn’t quite finish it off, but stayed with the play as Chris Andersen’s tip wouldn’t drop and then tipped it in himself with Lamar Odom and Brendan Haywood in the vicinity. It put Denver up 42-32.

Stat of the day: Dallas went from the 6:28 mark of the second quarter to the 8:36 mark of the third quarter -- 9 minutes, 52 seconds -- between scoring baskets. The hapless stint included 14 consecutive misses.