The Denver Nuggets are trying to take advantage of every home game on the schedule as they hunt the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The Nuggets will try to improve the best home record in the West to 29-6 when they host the stumbling Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.
Denver, which will play nine of its last 14 games on the road after finishing up with the current three-game homestand, got three full days off after falling at the West-leading Golden State on Friday and bounced back by burying the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-107 at home on Tuesday. "After the last couple of days, with the film sessions harping on ball movement, being selfless and playing for each other, for us to get 40 assists, it was refreshing and fun to watch," Nuggets coach Michael Malone told reporters. The Mavericks are losers of six straight and 11 of the last 12 but continue to put up a fight and took Houston and San Antonio down to the wire in tight losses the last two games. "I don't know how many games are left, I'm not counting," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle told reporters after Tuesday's 112-106 loss to the Spurs. "But I do know there were some positives in this game - we can't forget about those."
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT LINE: Nuggets -11.5
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (27-40): Dallas missed 11 of 26 free-throw attempts on Tuesday as star rookie Luka Doncic suffered through a terrible night. The 20-year-old Slovenia native went 5-of-18 from the floor, 1-of-7 from 3-point range and 1-of-9 from the free-throw line while committing nine turnovers. "He didn't look right," Carlisle told reporters of Doncic. "He had a tough night and I probably played him too many minutes, although he is probably at about average or maybe a little under. But tough nights happen. We just have to learn from it, get better and get ready for Denver - another good team."
ABOUT THE NUGGETS (44-22): Denver handed out 40 assists on 51 field goals while shooting 60 percent in Tuesday's win, with reserve power forward Mason Plumlee leading the way at eight assists. "It felt great (to move the ball)," Plumlee told the team's website. "We really responded to the film, where coach pointed out some zero-pass and one-pass possessions. I thought we did a better job of sharing it tonight. I always like having the ball, so I'm happy to make plays when I get it." All-Star center Nikola Jokic added seven assists while point guard Jamal Murray recorded one assist but scored a team-high 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting.
1. Nuggets PG Monte Morris averaged 16.5 points in the last two games after being held to single digits in each of the previous five contests.
2. Mavericks rookie PG Jalen Brunson scored a season-high 34 points on 12-of-16 shooting Tuesday.
3. Denver took each of the first two meetings this season and four of the last five in the series.
PREDICTION: Nuggets 128, Mavericks 106 Bet Now
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