Nuggets 107, Mavericks 102
DALLAS (AP)—The Dallas Mavericks apparently thought the game was over. Except Denver never gave up despite being down by 20 points.
Carmelo Anthony hit the go-ahead 22-footer with 2:22 left, then the rookie added four straight free throws in the closing seconds to help the Nuggets finish one of their biggest comebacks ever, 107-102 over Dallas on Saturday.
“We kept our focus. We buckled down defensively and tried to get a basket every time down the court,” Anthony said. “They left us open. NBA players are supposed to make those.”
After trailing 53-37 at halftime, Denver scored 70 points for the fourth-biggest comeback in team history. The Nuggets had 38 shots in each half, making 13 before halftime and 25 after.
Dallas led 64-44 with 8:48 left in the third quarter after Michael Finley made his seventh straight field goal, a 3-pointer.
Andre Miller then sank a short jumper, and after Finley’s shooting streak ended, Anthony had a driving dunk. Miller made all eight of his shots in the third, the last a 14-footer with seven seconds left to get the Nuggets to 79-71.
The Nuggets went ahead to stay on Anthony’s shot from the top of the key. They sealed the game with 10 straight free throws in the final 29 seconds, the first after Mavericks coach Don Nelson was called for a technical foul.
“That’s the best win I’ve been a part of in Denver,” Marcus Camby said. “We kept fighting. We had the whole arena against us, but we weathered the storm. It was about pride and heart.”
Dallas has lost consecutive games since a season-best nine-game winning streak. That streak ended with a 91-88 loss at Utah on Wednesday.
“I guess you have to take some bad with the good,” Nelson said. “We’ve been good for a long time. We let our guard down in the second half.”
The Nuggets have rebounded with two straight wins after three losses in a row, their longest losing streak this season.
After Steve Nash made a layup with a minute left, Dallas was within 97-94. Anthony then missed a shot, and Dirk Nowitzki—who missed three straight shots surrounding Anthony’s go-ahead basket—fell on a missed 3-pointer after being hit on the elbow by Nene.
When no foul was called, Nelson became irate and was whistled for a technical foul. Miller made the free throw.
“I thought I got fouled, but it shouldn’t have ever gotten to that point,” Nowitzki said. “We should have had an easier day.”
Denver kept possession and after a quick foul, Miller hit two more free throws. Nash hit a 3-pointer to get within 100-97, but Anthony hit his first two free throws right after that.
Anthony led the Nuggets with 26 points and Miller had 25, 21 of them after halftime. Nene had 15 points and Rodney White had 14.
Finley led the Mavericks with 37 points, 20 in the second quarter when Dallas appeared to take control of the game. Antoine Walker and Nowitzki each had 16 points.
Finley outscored the Nuggets 20-16 in the second quarter and Dallas had a 53-37 halftime lead.
“There’s no excuse. We just quit playing,” Nash said. “Once you give them confidence, the momentum swings. We played like the clock was going to run out and we were going to win.”
Instead, the Mavericks lost for the second time this season after leading byat least 20 points. ^Notes: Forward Scott Williams, awarded to Dallas on a waiver claim from Phoenix on Friday, was in uniform but didn’t play. … The Nuggets are 10-13 on the road. They won just four road games last season. … Camby had 12 rebounds, his sixth straight game with at least 10. … Finley made 4-of-7 3-pointers. The rest of the Mavericks were 2-of-14. … Denver made 15 of 20 shots in the third quarter, the 75 percent the highest by a Dallas opponent in a quarter thisseason.