Nuggets visit Mavs in search of fifth straight road win
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Life on the road is suddenly quite pleasant for the Denver Nuggets. That wasn't always the case this season, but a season-high four-game winning streak outside of the Mile High City has them singing a different tune.
"I don't know what it is," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "Confidence. I think our guys understand. Because even before these four wins, we had lost a couple of real close games; games that we were in.
"Right now, I think there's a great belief in our locker room. I love the chemistry, I love the vibe. And I love the fact that we're doing it as one, collectively. That's the most important thing about our team right now."
The Nuggets (35-28) pulled off their most impressive road win on Saturday at Cleveland, stunning LeBron James and the Cavaliers 126-117. Denver looks to make it five straight away from home Tuesday against the faltering Dallas Mavericks (19-45) at American Airlines Center.
The last time Denver won four in a row on the road was December 2013. Getting to five would also be the 13th win in the last 18 games for the Nuggets, who are trying to secure a playoff spot in a crowded Western Conference race.
"We've just got to keep rolling," said Nuggets guard Gary Harris, who scored 32 points against the Cavs. "We're on a three-game road trip right now, so we've got to try to close it out in Dallas."
The Nuggets have led at the end of the first quarter in each game during the road winning streak. That stat isn't lost on them.
"Just how tough it is to win, how important it is to get out to better starts," Nuggets guard Will Barton said. "Usually, when we were on the road, we got out to slow starts and tried to walk teams down. Now we're jumping out, or keeping the game closer, then we can make our push."
Dallas is going in the opposite direction. The Mavs, who have lost 17 of their last 21 games, are coming off a 17-point home loss to New Orleans on Sunday.
Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 23 points in the 126-109 setback. Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. added 23 points and eight assists, and Harrison Barnes scored 18.
The Mavericks are playing out the string with an obvious eye on the lottery and beyond.
"The important thing is to hammer simple things that are foundation thing; things that are important now and will be important this summer and in the fall and in the winter next year," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "We're going to keep hammering on those.
"We had a couple of good practice days coming out of the break and then we played lousy against the Lakers, better against Utah, played good against Indiana, competed well against Oklahoma and then Chicago -- a lot of good and then some really bad. Our inconsistency has been a constant and we've got to work on making it better."
Former Mavs fan favorite Devin Harris makes his return to Dallas for the first time since the trade-deadline deal shipped him to Denver.
Updated March 5, 2018