Mavs Power Points: A Giveaway In Denver

'This is a giveaway game, Mavs owner Mark Cuban said before Wednesday's second-night-of-a-road-back-to-back in against the Nuggets. 'It’s a huge advantage for Denver.' Happily, despite a 114-107 loss, not all the Mavs played it that way.

Midseason Nuggets vs. Preseason Mavs-

Is it too harsh to suggest coach Rick Carlisle all but treated the game in Denver -- an eventual 114-107 loss -- as a preseason outing?

Two of the five starters, Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler (with a sore ankle), rested. And a third, Rajon Rondo, was out with a sore Achilles. Considering Dirk and Tyson are a couple of tired veterans coming off of Tuesday's overtime win in Sacramento, it made sense to rest them on the second game of a back-to-back road trip. Rondo's situation however, will be one to monitor closely considering what he means to the team as the floor general, distributor and best perimeter defender.

Eventually, Rick also decided Monta Ellis should call it a night when Dallas was down 19 points and Ellis was 1-of-11 from the floor. All that, and yet ....

Players who played responded.

“I should have rested Ellis; I should have just insisted that he didn’t play,” Carlisle said. “He looked tired, he couldn’t get into the game. ... But look, we got depth on this team and guys scrambled around.''

Indeed, this was an easy game for the Mavs to just give away and not compete knowing it really wasn't a fair indication of the team, but the subs and scrubs competed hard to the very end, evidenced by the fact they only trailed by three points with three minutes left in the game before the Nuggets closed it out. Coach Carlisle rewarded his entire team with a lot of minutes for every active player, and they rewarded him with a lot of effort and pretty good production. Eight players ended up being in double-digits for scoring, but there was a huge void in other categories that the three inactive players usually fill. The biggest disappointment was actually probably a starter, Ellis, who scored just five points in 21 minutes played before he was used by Rick as a symbolic white flag.

Once Dallas surprised everyone by getting it close late, should Rick have retracted the flag and inserted his best closer?

Big shoes to fill

Raymond Felton, who started for the injured Rondo and played the most of any point guard, had five assists. Devin Harris had 4 assists and J.J. Barea had six assists, which lead the team. The total of 15 assists at the point guard position isn't terrible, but considering Rondo averages 10 assists a game himself ... well, there's a void.

Rebounding was really terrible as the Mavs got pounded on the glass once again, with Richard Jefferson leading the team in rebound with just six. Obviously the absence of the two starters down low contributed to the team being out-rebounded 51-39. Dirk averages six rebounds per game and Tyson Chandler averages just over 12 rebounds per game.

“I thought, all things considered, we did a lot of good things,” Carlisle said. “But we had too many lapses and mistakes. The rebounding deficit was one of the big problems again, so we got to keep working at that.”

Mavs "Big 3" stats

The Mavs got the best of the Nuggets just barely in 3-point shooting, edging them 24.3% to 21.1% but the Nuggets shot better overall from the field at 50% to the Mavs 41%. The Mavs and Nuggets both shot 80% from the free-throw line.

But wait. Go back to the Dallas arc. JJB and Devin kept shooting late and combined for 1-of-11 from three. A make in there somewhere late and we might be talking about something other than moral victories, scheduled losses and "giveaway games.''

Mavs Minute Management

- Head coach Rick Carlisle didn't let a single player hit the 30-minute mark, with Richard Jefferson leading the way with just over 29 minutes for the game. Felton started at point guard and played 29 minutes but Devin Harris played almost as much at a little over 26 minutes. Though Greg Smith started at center, he logged just 17 minutes as Dwight Powell played 29 minutes down low. Two regular starters played a decent amount, with Chandler Parsons playing 28 minutes and Monta playing 21 minutes.

The 6-11 kid Powell is your jump-out guy here, though. As Fish said on the "Mavs Live'' postgame show on FOX Sports Southwest, this is supposed to be a D-League project to develop with the Texas Legends (for the most part) after having been included in the Rondo trade from Boston. He's spent his time here behind the struggling Greg Smith (who may be playing hurt) but with room to operate in Denver, looked both springy and rangy with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go with five rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes.

We'll have more on Powell in the Mavs Morning Donuts but for now, it's interesting to watch what unfolds as the 27-13 Dallas Mavericks have finished this road trip 1-2 and return home to take on these same Nuggests on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Center ... because while we can assume that all the resters and the wobbly and the white flags will be ready ... shouldn't Dwight Powell get another crack to do this against the Nuggets again?

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