First Impressions: Nuggets 102, Mavs 100

Starting with the 2009 NBA year, Denver entered Saturday's visit from the Mavs with a daunting 48-8 home record against teams visiting The Mile High City on the second night of a back-to-back. ''Altitude and atmosphere,' DeJuan Blair said on the eve of Dallas-at-Nuggets by way of explaining the Nuggets' edge. Here, Denver had lots of edges as we detail in First Impressions:

Entering the Mile High City on the second night of a back to back, the Dallas Mavericks (9-5) were looking to do something they weren't able to accomplish all of last season: put together a winning streak of five or more games. Unfortunately for Dallas, the Denver Nuggets (6-6) and their unforgiving altitude - and atmosphere - were having none of that.

Dirk Nowitzki found the ball in his hands with a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but his closely contested fadeaway came up short allowing Denver to escape with a 102-100 win Saturday night.

Dirk went for 27 points and nine rebounds, but needed 22 shots to get there. He was able to find his shot down the stretch in the fourth quarter, but struggled in the closing moments by missing a couple of quality looks that we would say from our only-slightly-biased viewhe normally knocks down.

Despite the close outcome it was sloppy early and often for Dallas, going 9-of-23 from the floor and trailing the Nuggets 35-22 after the opening quarter. ... and really, that sluggish start will go down as Dallas' undoing.

Frustration continued to build throughout the second period, and culminated with coach Rick Carlisle getting ejected at the 5:14 mark after picking up two quick technical fouls after arguing a no-call.

Denver led 65-53 going into halftime, torching Dallas by hitting nine treys and shooting 50 percent from the floor. They also dominated the glass, outrebounding Dallas 27-14.

Ellis continued to prove himself as the best free agent acquisition of the Mark Cuban era, knifing his way through the Denver defense on his way to 25 points. Ellis has scored at least 18 points in every game this season, needing only a half to reach that mark again tonight with 19 going into intermission.

Ty Lawson led Denver with 20 points and nine assists, and Kenneth Faried made his presence felt with 18 points and 14 rebounds.

Vince Carter got going in the third, scoring 11 points and drilling 3 huge shots from beyond the arc to keep the game close and put the Mavs in position to make a late run.

Dallas took its first lead since holding a 16-15 edge in the first on a Monta Ellis jumper at the top of the key, putting the Mavs up 89-88 with 7:31 to play in the 4th quarter.

The Mavericks will have their chance at revenge Monday evening, with Denver traveling to Dallas for a 7:30 tip at the AAC.

Going into the game it seemed like a "Fun Fact" that Denver iwoukd end the night now 49-8 on the second night of visitors' back-to-backs at home. But now? It seems less "fun" and more significant.

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