How it happened: Denver journeyman guard Nate Robinson got rolling at the wrong time for the Mavs.
Dallas had slashed a deficit that was as large as 15 points to only four with nine minutes remaining in the game. Then the 5-foot-9 Robinson caught fire.
Robinson scored every Denver point during the Nuggets' 11-2 run over the next few minutes, stretching the lead back into double figures. He knocked down a couple of corner 3-pointers, a midrange pull-up jumper and a 3 from the wing.
Robinson finished with 17 points. Denver starting point guard Ty Lawson gave the Mavs fits most of the night, scoring 19 points and dishing out 11 assists. Center J.J. Hickson led the Nuggets with 22 points.
Monta Ellis led the Mavs with 22 points. Dirk Nowitzki got off to a hot start but cooled off considerably after halftime, scoring only five of his 18 points in the second half, when he was 2-of-9 from the floor.
Vince Carter, whom the Mavs count on to be a third scoring threat, had a miserable night with eight points on 3-of-13 shooting.
What it means: After winning four straight games, the Mavs (9-6) were swept by the Nuggets (7-6) in a home-and-home series. That puts Denver in position to claim the series tiebreakers with a split of the remaining meetings, which are both on the March schedule. The Mavs suffered their first home loss of their season after a 7-0 start at the American Airlines Center. That was the team's best home start since winning 10 straight at home to open the 2003-04 season.
Play of the game: It didn't take long for Denver to turn a missed layup into a dunk on the other end. Seconds after Vince Carter failed to finish on a drive, Wilson Chandler slammed home a lob with two hands to stretch the Nuggets' lead to 12 with a little less than five minutes remaining in the first half. The fast break started with Kenneth Faried's rebound and outlet pass. Evan Fournier's alley-oop pass to Chandler traveled about 30 feet in the air.
Stat of the night: Nowitzki's streak of consecutive made free throws was snapped, at 35, in the fourth quarter.