DALLAS -- The Mavericks made sure the Denver Nuggets didn’t sweep the season series, putting on a high-scoring show in a 122-106 victory.
The Nuggets slashed a lead that was as large as 17 points in the second half to three midway through the fourth quarter. Then Dirk went to work on the right block, giving the Mavs some breathing room by taking advantage of his 3-inch height advantage over Denver’s Darrell Arthur, knocking down turnarounds on two straight possessions.
At that point, the Mavs put the ball in Ellis’ hands and let him wreak havoc, primarily running pick-and-rolls with Nowitzki and Brandan Wright. Ellis responded with 10 of his game-high 26 points in a span of less than four minutes and dished to Wright for a dunk during the run.
The Mavs made field goals on 10 consecutive possessions down the stretch, with Shawn Marion and Wright getting easy buckets off good ball movement that exploited rotations designed to deal with Ellis on the pick-and-roll.
Ellis and Nowitzki (21 points) were two of the seven Mavs who scored in double figures. Dallas shot 53.9 percent from the floor and 54.5 percent from 3-point range.
What it means: With their victory and Memphis’ loss to Miami, the Mavs are one game ahead of the Grizzlies in the Western Conference standings again, sitting alone in seventh place. The Mavs (42-28) assured themselves of finishing with a winning record for the 13th time in the past 14 seasons. Denver dropped to 31-38 after failing to finish off the season sweep of the Mavs.
Play of the game: It wasn’t especially meaningful and certainly wasn’t spectacular, but Nowitzki’s dunk in the first quarter provided some comic relief. After Jose Calderon found him wide open under the hoop, Nowitzki finished with a routine two-hand dunk, squeaking the ball over the rim. As he jogged back down the floor, a grinning Nowitzki glanced at the Mavs’ bench and mimicked Vince Carter’s rev-it-up hands gesture.
Stat of the night: Jae Crowder’s 12 points in the second quarter were as many as he scored in an NBA game since Jan. 18.