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Gallinari's 39 points help Nuggets win easily

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- Danilo Gallinari did it from deep and at the rim, scoring a career-high 39 points to lead the Denver Nuggets to an easy 106-85 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on Friday night.

The Nuggets (17-14) have played an NBA-high 21 away games without much success on enemy courts. But their fortunes changed against the slumping Mavericks, who have dropped eight of their past nine games.

Denver has won seven of its past 10 games against Dallas, the latest being nearly a wire-to-wire rout. The Nuggets dominated from inside and beyond the arc while improving to 8-13 on the road.

"Somehow, someway, we got an easy win on the road, which doesn't happen very often," Denver coach George Karl said.

The Mavericks (12-18) lost their fifth game in a row, tied for their fourth-longest skid since Dirk Nowitzki entered the league in 1998-99. Nowitzki made his first home appearance this season, but it mattered little.

The former MVP played just 18 minutes and scored five points on 2-of-10 shooting.

"It's everybody and not just him," Shawn Marion said of Nowitzki. "Everyone is coming back into this mix. It's been happening this way all season. With him coming back it's great, having the big fellow on the floor, but his conditioning is not right just yet.

"We can't keep throwing up all these damn excuses; we have to go out there and compete. We get paid to do a job and we have to go out there and compete and that's it."

Gallinari, a 6-foot-10 Italian forward, drilled 14 of 23 shots, including 7 of 11 from 3-point territory, and he made all four of his free throws. Gallinari's previous personal best was 37 at New York last season. He added eight rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes.

"My teammates were really finding me tonight and I'm glad I was making my shots tonight," Gallinari said. "Tonight was one of those games where after you release the ball you think that it's going in."

Andre Iguodala added 20 points, and three other Nuggets scored 11, including Kenneth Faried, who added a game-high 19 rebounds. Ty Lawson and Andre Miller, the two other players with 11, combined to dish out 15 assists.

O.J. Mayo (15 points) was the only Maverick with more than 12 points. Dallas shot 37.5 percent and was outrebounded 60-43. Dallas ranks last in the NBA in rebounding margin.

"It's a problem," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's something that's not going to go away by just talking about it."

The Nuggets exploited their advantages inside at both ends right from the start. Denver is the league's highest-scoring team in the paint, which was accentuated by Dallas' struggles on the boards.

That added up to a 21-8 lead before Nowitzki checked in midway through the first quarter. The Mavericks made a push, mainly behind Mayo, cutting the Denver lead to as little as 40-38 late in the second period.

Denver finished the half strong, including a 5-0 run from Gallinari in the last six seconds. He drilled a three-pointer, and after a steal off the subsequent inbounds, converted a rebound put-back at the buzzer.

"The last minute of the second quarter, when we took a three- or four-point lead to an eight-point lead, I thought it was really kind of lucky a little bit," Karl said. "We made shots. I think our stuff is pretty good when we make shots."

The Nuggets, up 55-47 at the break, enjoyed a 32-14 edge in points in the paint and 14-8 in fastbreak points in the first half. Gallinari had 15 points at intermission, with Faried adding 11 points and 14 boards. Mayo had 13 for Dallas.

Denver's lead reached 25 in the second half as the Mavericks offered little resistance.

"We couldn't get traction," Carlisle said. "I thought there were stretches where we played hard and really were in the right place and tried to do the right thing; they just rose and jumped over is and hit some ridiculous shots."

Dallas' chances of getting back into the win column are small with San Antonio visiting American Airlines Center on Sunday. The Nuggets are at Memphis on Saturday night, finishing their run of 22 road games in their first 32 games.

"This win does a lot for us especially when we have back-to-back road games," Gallinari said. "This game will really give us confidence when we head to Memphis."

NOTES: Carlisle doesn't have a specific timetable for when Nowitzki will be 100 percent and back to playing his normal amount of minutes. "It's going to take some time," Carlisle said. "I think it's going to be more than a week or 10 days, but we'll see. He's been working extremely hard. This is going to be a process and it's just not going to happen overnight." Nowitzki, playing in Dallas for the first time this season, has come off the bench in his three games. ... Denver sixth man Corey Brewer was a member of Dallas' 2011 NBA championship team. ... Mayo, the Mavs' leading scorer, came into Friday on his first extended slump since signing in Dallas. The ex-Memphis guard, suffering from the flu earlier this week, averaged 7.3 points on 25 percent shooting in the previous four games.
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