Thursday, December 6, 2007

Iverson and Nuggets zoom past Mavs

When judging performance, wins and losses usually aren’t at the top of the list. Rebounding, transition defense, energy, focus and the like hold a much higher value on Avery Johnson’s report card.

The Mavericks aren’t looking good in too many categories right now.

Allen Iverson scored 35 as Denver departed American Airlines Center with a 122-109 victory Thursday night, continuing a tailspin that’s seen Dallas drop six of its last nine games. Coupled with the loss the previous night in San Antonio, the Mavs dropped a back-to-back for the second time in less than two weeks.

“We’ve got to fight through it,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to take a little time to refocus and reenergize.”

The Nuggets exploited Dallas (12-8) in several areas that can’t sit too well with Johnson. Denver enjoyed scoring advantages of 64-36 in the paint and 24-14 in transition. Led by Allen Iverson’s 12-of-19 showing from the floor, the Nuggets shot 50.5 percent. They scored at least 34 in the first and third quarters.

The Mavs went into the fourth in striking distance, down just 98-92, but Denver began to pull away quickly. Johnson tried to stem the tide with a timeout after Nuggets forward Eduardo Najera drilled a 3-pointer for a 105-94 lead. From there, though, the Mavs would never get close enough to challenge.

“They’re disappointed,” Johnson said of his team. “We’re all disappointed. We don’t want to play this way.”

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