The Nuggets dominated Dallas on the boards and the Mavericks' defense did not have an answer for Danilo Gallinari, especially from outside. Gallinari had a career-high 39 points, including 7-for-11 from outside the 3-point stripe. He had 13 of those points in the third quarter, when Denver built a 17-point lead by the end of the frame. Andre Iguodala added 20 points and hit four 3-pointers in that third quarter.
Dallas couldn't handle the Nuggets on the boards, either. They were outrebounded 60 to 43 in the game and Denver had a 52-34 point-in-the-paint advantage.
It was a better night for O.J. Mayo, who had struggled mightily in the previous four games. After scoring just 29 points combined in the previous four games, Mayo had 15 points Friday. He still had a few rough spots, but was much improved. But he didn't get much help and the Mavericks couldn't get enough stops in the second half to make it interesting.
Nowitzki received a huge ovation (about half of the fans even stood for him) when he entered the game with 5:27 left in the first quarter. But by the time Nowitzki touched the ball, it was 21-8 Denver. The Nuggets went on a 15-2 run prior to Nowitzki getting in the game, along with Vince Carter and Elton Brand.
Nowitzki, who didn't wear a sleeve on his right knee (he wore one Thursday in Oklahoma City), struggled to find his rhythm and scored just five points (all in the first quarter) on 2-for-10 shooting. He played only 17 minutes as the game got out of hand in the second half.
The Mavericks went on a 10-0 run midway through the second quarter to cut into Denver's 15-point lead. Dallas ended up on a 19-6 run that cut the deficit to two points with about four minutes left in the half. But the Mavs didn't get any closer as the Nuggets ended up leading by eight at the break.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was frustrated enough that he called a timeout with a little more than three minutes left in the game (it was an 18-point Denver lead at the time) even though he didn't have any timeouts. He got the timeout, but it was charged as a team technical and the Nuggets got a free throw and the ball.
What it means: Dallas (12-18) has lost a season-high five consecutive games (all to teams that were in the playoffs last season) and eight of its last nine games to fall six games under .500. The Mavs haven't done that in the Mark Cuban era since his first half-season with the club (April 2000). The five-game losing streak is the longest for the Mavs since they lost six consecutive games in January of 2011. Nowitzki missed four of those games and Tyson Chandler missed the other two.
Play of the game: The final 5.9 seconds of the first half altered momentum a bit heading into the locker room. With Denver only up by three points, Gallinari hit a 3-pointer and then made a put-back dunk as time expired following a Carter turnover. Carter made a bad pass and Andre Miller stole it and passed it to Ty Lawson, who missed a 3-pointer, but Gallinari was there for the last-second dunk. Just like that, it was an eight-point lead for the Nuggets at the half.
Stat of the night: Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried had nine points and 11 rebounds in the first quarter, helping Denver to an 11-point lead. The Mavericks had eight rebounds as a team in the quarter. Faried had six defensive rebounds and five offensive rebounds in the quarter.