DENVER (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki had 33 points and 11 rebounds, Brandan Wright scored 15 points and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Denver Nuggets 112-95 on Monday night.
Arron Afflalo scored 24 points for the Nuggets, who lost a game that could have an impact on their playoff position. Denver entered Monday seventh in the Western Conference, a half-game behind Dallas. The Mavericks not only gained a game on the Nuggets, they won the season series and hold a tiebreaker should the teams finish with the same record.
The Nuggets also lost guard Andre Miller in the second quarter with a bruised right shoulder, and forward Danilo Gallinari broke his left thumb in the third quarter. Neither player returned, and their status for Wednesday was unknown.
Their injuries made Wilson Chandler's debut even more significant one day after he signed a multiyear deal. He had 13 points and took a team-high 16 shots.
Chandler, who played overseas for Zhejiang Guangsha of the Chinese Basketball Association during the lockout, was ineligible to return until his team and FIBA, basketball's governing body, signed off. Once that happened, he and the Nuggets agreed to a five-year, $37 million contract. They finalized the deal Sunday and he was on the court Monday. He came into the game midway through the first period and hit his first two shots, including a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock.
Chandler's early offense helped keep the Nuggets close in a half where the Mavericks didn't miss many shots.
Dallas started the game 10 of 13 from the field and shot 62.5 percent in the first period. Nowitzki led the way by going 5 for 5, mostly against rookie Kenneth Faried.
Behind Nowitzki's 18 points in the first half the Mavericks built a nine-point lead before Denver made a charge to get within a point at 50-49 with 2:38 left in the second quarter. Dallas recovered and led 63-56 at the half.
Nowitzki drained a 3 as the Mavericks scored the first seven points of the third to go ahead by 14. Denver cut it to 78-72 on Chandler's tip-in, but Dallas finished the third quarter on a 14-4 run to lead 92-78 heading into the fourth.
Nowitzki's three-point play and 16-foot turnaround jumper gave Dallas a 101-82 lead with 8:08 left. Denver never made it a game in the fourth.
Notes: Mavericks F Shawn Marion did not make the one-game trip because of an injury. The team's injury report noted Marion has a sore left knee, but coach Rick Carlisle wouldn't be specific, saying: "We're not listing him as anything in particular except for he's getting treatment." ... Nuggets C JaVale McGee, acquired from Washington on Thursday, didn't play.
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