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Nuggets entertain Mavs at Pepsi Center

A pair of Western Conference contenders mired in losing streaks square off in the Rockies tonight when the Denver Nuggets play host to the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.

The Nuggets dropped their third in a row on Monday, suffering a 99-90 setback to Houston at Pepsi Center. Danilo Gallinari had 14 points to lead Denver in that one before exiting with a left ankle injury. Al Harrington finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

A CT and MRI on Tuesday revealed a chip fracture in Gallinari's ankle, which the Nuggets said was from a previous injury that likely occurred prior to the start of Gallinari's professional career. He is expected to remain in a walking boot for 3-to-5 days and will miss about a month of action and receive treatment for "a significant" ankle sprain.

In his first full season with the Nuggets, Gallinari, who recently signed a four-year, $42 million extension, is averaging a team-high 17.0 points per game.

"No one's going to feel sorry for us except ourselves," coach George Karl said. "If we feel too sorry for ourselves, we're not going to bounce back."

Gallinari is far from the only injury Karl is dealing with, however. Starters Nene (left heel), Arron Afflalo (left ankle) and Timofey Mozgov (left ankle) were all out against the Rockets, along with reserve forward Corey Brewer, who was dealing with the death of his father.

Nene and Afflalo are expected back in the lineup tonight.

The Mavericks have also dropped three straight, the latest of which was a 91-88 loss in Cleveland on Saturday.

Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points and eight rebounds for the Mavs in that one but Dallas turned the ball over 21 times, leading to 19 Cleveland points. Jason Terry finished with 17 points in the contest.

"Combination of points off turnovers, 19 points off turnovers and 17 second- chance points was the difference," Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle said.

The Mavs are now just 1-6 when Nowitzki scores 20-or-more this season. The German star did pass Elgin Baylor for 22nd place on the NBA's all-time scoring list in Cleveland and is now 23 points behind Adrian Dantley (23,177) for 21st.

Denver has won four straight over Dallas, including a 115-93 win in North Texas on Dec. 26.