The Dallas Mavericks will try to stem a four-game losing slide on Friday night when they welcome the Denver Nuggets to American Airlines Center.
The Mavs lost a heartbreaker on Thursday night, 111-105 in overtime, in Oklahoma City to the Western Conference champion Thunder. Down three with under a second to go in regulation, Darren Collison threw in a one-handed, game-tying long ball to send it to overtime.
"Man, it was just a prayer," said Collison, who had a season-high 32 points. "I honestly didn't think it was going in, but I had made a couple of those floater 3-pointers before and I was just thankful that it went in. It gave us a chance for overtime."
The Thunder out-played the Mavericks in the extra period, although O.J. Mayo, the team's leading scorer had a chance late to tie it, but missed two of three free throws.
Mayo and Dirk Nowitzki, who played in his second game since returning from knee surgery, both struggled from the field Thursday. They combined to shoot 4-for-18 and net 13 points.
The Nuggets are coming off a 126-114 victory Wednesday night over the Los Angeles Lakers. Six Nuggets scored in double-figures, led by Corey Brewer's 27 off the bench. All five starters reached double-digits as Kenneth Faried had 21 points and 15 boards, Andre Iguodala posted 17 points and 11 rebounds, Ty Lawson had 17 and 14 assists and Danilo Gallinari netted 19.
Wednesday's victory gave the Nuggets eight straight wins at the Pepsi Center and pushed their home record to an NBA-best 9-1. They have played the fewest home games of any team with 10 and to be two games over .500 is really impressive and potentially dangerous to the rest of the league.
"You have to understand, if we go the rest of the season and lose seven times at home, we just have to win seven on the road to get to 47 wins," head coach George Karl explained. "We're in a good place."
The Nuggets will close the 2012 calendar year with two on the road, then have 15 of their next 18 in the high altitude of Denver.
"These next two games are really important for us," said Iguodala. "We have to focus in and take care of the first one in Dallas."
The Nuggets have gone over the 100-point mark in 10 of their 13 games in the month of December. Defensively, things haven't been as good as they've surrendered over 100 points in eight of those same 13.
The Mavericks lost last season's first matchup with the Nuggets, but won the last three, including one in Dallas.