The Dallas Mavericks will look to get back on track on Monday against the Denver Nuggets after suffering a 105-94 Christmas day loss to the Miami Heat in a rematch of last season's NBA Finals. Dallas was hardly competitive in the game trailing by as many as 35 points. The Mavericks made the score respectable with a big fourth quarter that they hope carries over into Monday's game against the Nuggets.
The game will be Denver's season opener and its first full season without forward Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets finished 18-7 last season after the Anthony trade but duplicating that feat over an entire regular season could prove to be difficult. During the offseason, the Nuggets re-signed two of their own free agents in center Nene and guard Aaron Affalo essentially bringing back the core from last season's team that won 50 games.
Against the Heat, Dallas struggled with its transition defense allowing Miami 31 fast-break points. The Mavericks were also beaten up on the boards and will have to improve in both areas substantially. Rick Carlisle preached patience citing that this group of Mavericks will have to carve out its own identity after the departures of players like Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea in the offseason.
"We're going to have to forge an identity with this team; it's a different team," Carlisle said. "That's work, and it's going to take honesty, and it's not going to be easy."
Game date/time: Monday, December 26, 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
TV Coverage: Fox Sports Southwest, Altitude
Online Streaming: NBA League Pass Broadband