The Dallas Mavericks put themselves in position to be competitive at OKC, at Memphis and at San Antonio last week ... only to see their positions slip away as they lost all three roadies from last week, dropping to 9-7.
"Frustrating,'' Dirk Nowitzki said, aware that Dallas lost a double-digit lead in the third quarter to lose 117-114 at a Thunder team without Durant, then lost at a Randolph-less Memphis 110-96 and then played good-enough defense at San Antonio to hold them to 88 ... only to score 83 themselves.
"This last road trip left a sour taste in our mouth," Chandler Parsons said. "We felt like we left a few on the table there we could have gotten."
Back to the table tonight for a 7:30 tip at the AAC against the visiting Nuggets and local products Emmanuel Mundiay and Darrell Arthur ... and time to clean the palate.
Dallas' defensive work against the Spurs marks something to build on, maybe. But the Mavs' most surprising failure in in the area of shooting; as they are averaging 100.6 points this season but are 2-5 whent they don't achieve the century mark.
Parsons is still ramping up after knee surgery. He didn't play in San Antonio but should be good to go here ... maybe inching up from a recent trend that has him essentially playing one half. JJ Barea (ankle) will not be able to do and could miss three games. (These Mavs are in good hands with "the best trainer in the NBA, Casey Smith. Our report here.)
Meanwhile, Denver is also having offensive probems tied to San Antonio. The Nuggets will be playing tonight on the second night of a B-2-B after shooting just 40 percent in a 91-80 road loss to the Spurs. The Nuggets are 6-10 and when they don't shoot, they don't win, either: Denver is now 0-10 when it fails to top the 45.6-percent mark from the floor.
While Dallas has dropped three straight (but has a four-game win streak at home), Denver's lost five in a row. ... and the Nuggets might be without Kenneth Faried (ankle).
Meanwhile, we continue to give thanks for Nowitzki, 37, who is seven baskets away from becoming the 13th player in NBA history to 10,000 field goals and is doing so while also shooting almost 53 percent from the field and a league-leading 51 percent from three. Maybe one of the reasons Dallas dropped those three games: Dirk took only 30 shots all week.
"Don't underestimate greatness,'' coach Rick Carlisle says, "at any age.''