Published May 02, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Mavericks are locked in at the seventh spot in the Western Conference and will begin their final road trip of the regular season, starting with Friday's game against the Denver Nuggets.
The Mavericks will play the next three games on the road against the Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers, and are 21-17 as the visitor.
Dallas hasn't been playing sharp basketball of late as evidenced by a 3-6 record in the previous nine games. The team salvaged the final test of a three-game homestand with Wednesday's 107-104 triumph versus the Phoenix Suns, as Tyson Chandler compiled 12 points, 23 rebounds and two blocks.
Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 and 19 points, respectively, and Rajon Rondo handed out seven assists to go along with 12 points for the Mavs, who eliminated the Suns from the playoff race and shot 48 percent from the floor.
"Looking at their lineup, we knew that they were going to play a little small ball," Chandler said. "In the last couple of games we adjusted to teams. We made them adjust to us and I think we were effective with it."
The score was tied at 85-85 heading into the fourth quarter and the Mavericks later used a 9-2 run to grab a 106-102 edge. They outscored the Suns, 66-44, in the paint and had a 47-37 rebounding advantage.
Dallas has lost seven of its last nine road games and will wrap up the regular season Wednesday versus Portland in Big D. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle is four wins shy of matching Don Nelson's mark of 339 victories with the team.
Mavs forward Chandler Parsons is still bothered by a balky knee and is expected to miss Friday's game. He has missed the last two games and is averaging 15.7 ppg.
The Nuggets are 1-1 on a four-game homestand and halted a four-game losing streak with a 119-101 victory over the hapless Lakers on Wednesday. Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari scored 29 and 27 points, respectively, and Ty Lawson ended with 16 and eight assists.
Randy Foye rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12 points to go along with seven assists and six rebounds for Denver, which made 50 percent of its shots and limited the Lakers to 17 points in the third quarter.
"We came out in the third and played Nugget basketball," Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt.
Denver had a 52-40 points in the paint and 45-39 rebounding advantage. It led by as many as 24 points and won for just the third time in the last 11 games.
The Nuggets are 18-21 at home and will close the homestand Sunday versus Sacramento. Denver ends the season on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors.
Nuggets guard Jameer Nelson (hip) is questionable for Friday's game.
Denver and Dallas have split two meetings this season. The Nuggets have won six of the last nine matchups in this series and are unbeaten in the past four at the Pepsi Center.