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Gallinari, Nuggets spoil Nowitzki's return, 106-85

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 28, 2012 at 11:36 pm •  Published: December 28, 2012

Nowitzki made a surprise return at San Antonio on Sunday and played 20 minutes, as planned. He was up to nearly 26½ after playing briefly in overtime of a 111-105 loss to the Thunder on Thursday night. He missed his first two shots against the Nuggets, including his signature one-legged fadeway, before making a 3-pointer and a 19-footer.

A few of Nowitzki's six misses the rest of the night rattled in and out.

"It was too much tonight," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was back-to-back games and he isn't limping or anything, but he just can't give us what everyone expects him to give."

Kenneth Faried outrebounded the Mavericks by himself in the first quarter and finished with 19 rebounds and 11 points, his seventh double-double in the past 10 games. The Nuggets had 60 rebounds to 43 for Dallas, and outscored the Mavericks 19-6 in second-chance points in the first three quarters.

"It's a problem that isn't going to go away by talking about it," Carlisle said. "I know we can do it."

Mayo was a little better after a four-game slump punctuated by matching his season low with four points and missing two of three free throws with a chance to tie the score in the loss to Oklahoma City. But he had just two points and took just four shots in the second half.

Gallinari capped a 15-2 run in the first quarter with a 3-pointer and two free throws to give the Nuggets a 21-8 lead. The Mavericks, who fell to 3-10 against teams with winning records, answered with a 10-0 run in the second quarter and got as close as 40-38 on a 3-pointer by Vince Carter.

NOTES: The Mavericks were given a technical foul when Carlisle called a timeout with 3:02 remaining when he didn't have any timeouts left. ... Mavericks G Darren Collison fell three points shy of his career high with 32 in Thursday's 111-105 overtime loss at Oklahoma City. He had his career high at Dallas in February 2010. ... The Nuggets had double-digit 3-pointers for the second straight game after going the first 29 without one. They were 8-0 last year when they had 10 or more 3s. ... Nuggets G Ty Lawson had 14 assists and no turnovers against the Lakers, the first Denver player to do that since Nick Van Exel against the Mavericks almost 11 years ago.