Nuggets vs Mavericks odds and preview for Wednesday, March 11, 2020

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Nuggets vs Mavericks
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is averaging 28.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 8.8 assists in 10 games since returning from injury. Photo credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Luka Doncic continues to play at an MVP-caliber level but the Dallas Mavericks are still coming up short. Will that change in Nuggets vs Mavericks?

DateWednesday, March 11
Time8:10 p.m. ET
How to watch Nuggets vs MavericksESPN
Nuggets vs Mavericks NBA odds – point spread Nuggets -2.5
Nuggets vs Mavericks NBA odds – total points218.5 over/under

Doncic’s latest effort, a 38-point, eight-assist, seven-rebound doozy against the San Antonio Spurs including six 3-pointers and came on the heels of a 36-10-8 night against the Indiana Pacers.

But the Mavericks went 0-2 and have one of the best teams in the Western Conference in town Wednesday when the Denver Nuggets pull up. 

“I'm not worried at all,” Doncic said Tuesday. “At the beginning of the season, people had us out of playoffs, and we showed that we can be in the playoffs. As of now, we are in the playoffs. It's a long way, but I think we are going to make the playoffs. I'm not worried.”

The Mavericks are trending in the wrong direction even if Doncic’s arrow is pointed straight up. They’ve lost four of the past seven games and sit in seventh place in the Western Conference, 6 1/2 games ahead of the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies. 

Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets took the last meeting in January and Jokic had 33 points. Doncic had 27-9-10. 

Nuggets coach Michael Malone wants to make sure the star power is appreciated regardless of the result.

“It’s two of the most promising young players in the entire NBA, two of the best players in the world,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “One guy from Slovenia, one guy from Serbia and on national TV, they put all their talents on full display. When you can watch guys like Luka and Nikola playing at the level they’re playing at, that is very, very entertaining and fun to watch for all of us.”

The Nuggets arrive having split their past 10 games with the distance to the top of the Western Conference standings growing.

Denver scored a key 109-95 home victory over the NBA-best Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, but reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) and fellow All-Star Khris Middleton (rest) both sat out for Milwaukee.

Malone wasn't too concerned over what the opponent will do with its personnel at this stage of the season. He was just pleased to see a better performance from his club.

“It was about our effort, our focus and, 'Were we willing to go out there and try to defend at a high level?'” Malone said. “I thought we did that.”

Jokic, and All-Star center, is in a bit of a funk offensively and at the wrong time of the year for Denver.

Jokic averaged just nine points over the past two games while making just 8 of 24 field-goal attempts. His last 20-point game was March 1, when he had 23 against the Toronto Raptors.

Jokic fared well with averages of 21.5 points, 8.5 assists and eight rebounds as the Nuggets split two games with the Mavericks earlier this season.

Point guard Jamal Murray scored 21 points in the win over Milwaukee after failing to reach the 20-point mark in six of his previous seven contests. Power forward Paul Millsap also played well, producing 20 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season and first since Feb. 8.

Denver reserve power forward Jerami Grant scored 19 points against the Bucks after averaging seven over the previous three contests.

Grant, 25, is averaging 11.6 points and 3.6 rebounds this season. His play will be observed closely down the stretch by team officials as both he and the 35-year-old Millsap are expected to become unrestricted free agents after this season.

Meanwhile, Dallas is beginning a two-game homestand that includes a Saturday game against the Phoenix Suns.

Shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is providing Doncic with some scoring help. He had 20 points in the loss to the Spurs and is averaging 23.5 points over the past four games.

Late-game execution stung Dallas in the January meeting between these teams, and head coach Rick Carlisle is trying to find answers to the same problem after the Mavericks lost a big lead against the Spurs.

“When you build a lead in the third quarter the way we did and put yourself in a good position, you've got to find a way to sustain,” Carlisle said. “You've got to have a collective determination to fight through.”

Mavericks reserve shooting guard Seth Curry (ankle) is expected to miss his third consecutive contest in the Nuggets vs Mavericks contest.

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