Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets Pick & Prediction MARCH 17th 2024

The Denver Nuggets came out of last month’s All-Star break with a renewed focus, which is bad news for the rest of the league.

Denver (47-20) has won five straight heading into a road matchup against the Dallas Mavericks (38-29) on Sunday. The Nuggets are 11-1 since the All-Star break and hold the top seed in the Western Conference with 15 games to play.

Dallas saw its four-game win streak come to an end with Thursday’s 126-119 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavericks are in eighth place in the West and hoping to climb out of the play-in tournament bracket.

Dallas has dropped its last three meetings against Denver, including a 130-104 road loss on Dec. 18. Jamal Murray finished with 22 points for Denver, which led by as many as 36 points and rested its starters for the entire fourth quarter.

The Nuggets were able to rest many of their starters again in Friday’s 117-106 win over the San Antonio Spurs in Austin. Nikola Jokic scored 31 points and Murray added 15 points and 10 assists in a dominant victory.

“We’ve been on a roll,” Denver reserve forward Christian Braun said. “Our second unit has been doing a really good job for the most part and playing really well since the All-Star break. That’s what we’ve got to do. We want to give (Jokic and Murray) a chance to rest.”

Jokic is averaging 26.0 points, 12.2 rebounds and 9.1 assists for defending champion Nuggets, who are looking to secure the Western Conference’s top playoff seed for the second straight season.

“If we can get (the No. 1 seed), sure, we’re going to take it,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “We’re not going to shy away from that. It was very effective for us last year, having home court throughout the entirety of the playoffs.”

Denver continues its four-game road trip with a meeting against Dallas, which is monitoring the status of Luka Doncic (sore left hamstring) and Josh Green (right ankle sprain).

Doncic missed Thursday’s game against Oklahoma City, but an MRI came back clean and he could return as soon as Sunday. X-rays on Green’s ankle were negative, but coach Jason Kidd isn’t sure when he’ll be able to return.

The Mavericks are 3-6 in games this season without Doncic. Kyrie Irving had 36 points and a season-high 12 assists against Oklahoma City, but the Mavericks committed 19 turnovers in the loss.

Kidd has been pleased by the play of center Daniel Gafford, who was acquired from the Washington Wizards on Feb. 8. Gafford had his streak of consecutive made field goals snapped at 33 on Thursday. He fell just two short of Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA record of 35.

“I’m smiling ear-to-ear on the inside just because I had a chance to do it,” Gafford said. “And it’s not my only chance. I’m for sure going to try to do that before the regular season is over.”

Gafford is averaging 11.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in 15 games since joining the Mavericks.

“What he’s brought to this team … the streak is very impressive when you talk about the likes of Wilt Chamberlain,” Kidd said. “For Gaff to be there and mentioned in that air is pretty special.”

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping