Tuesday, March 30, 2010
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Nowitzki's triple-double leads Mavs past Nuggets

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[March 30, 2010]  DALLAS (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki had 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his second career triple-double, and the Dallas Mavericks maintained the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference with a 109-93 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.

Shawn Marion added 21 points and Jason Terry contributed 15 for Dallas, which increased its conference lead over Denver to 1 1-2 games.

InsuranceNowitzki's other triple-double came with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists against Milwaukee on Feb. 6, 2008.

Nowitzki hit 4 of 5 from 3-point range and went 16 for 17 from the free throw line as the Mavericks moved to 4-4 since snapping a season-best 13-game winning streak.

J.R. Smith scored 27 points and Nene had 14 for the Nuggets, who lost their fifth in six games. Carmelo Anthony, the league's No. 3 scorer, went 3 for 16 from the floor and had 10 points, 18.9 below his average.

The Nuggets pulled to 82-75 with 10:08 left, but Terry scored the Mavericks' next eight points, including a pair of 3s, for a 90-77 lead with 8:05 to play.


Dallas went on to lead by as many as 20 points down the stretch. The Mavericks carried a 79-69 advantage into the fourth quarter after leading by as many as 17 in the third.

Denver's top rebounder Kenyon Martin missed his 14th straight game due to left knee patella tendinitis.

The Nuggets continue to struggle without Martin and with Adrian Dantley as acting coach while George Karl undergoes treatment for throat cancer. Denver is 7-7 in Karl's absence.

A little over an hour before tip-off, Dantley called the matchup "a big game -- a huge game."

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle wasn't as dramatic, but he said it was "a tiebreaker game, so it's important."

Marion's 10 points helped put Dallas in front 31-23 heading into the second quarter.

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The Mavericks closed the second quarter with an 8-2 run, including consecutive 3s from Jason Kidd and Roddy Beaubois for a 55-46 edge.

Denver went the final 4:30 of the second quarter without a field goal, going 0 for 5 from the field with three turnovers.

NOTES: Both teams have already clinched playoff spots. ... Denver was coming off Sunday's 103-97 road loss to Orlando. ... Carlisle said before the game that he has sent encouraging text messages to Karl during Karl's cancer treatments. "His health situation is in our thoughts and prayers," Carlisle said. ... Dallas G J.J. Barea missed the game with a sore left ankle. ... Dallas shot 59 percent from the floor in the opening quarter (13 for 22).

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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