DALLAS -- The Denver Nuggets started a six-game road trip Monday night desperately trying to figure out how to win away from home.
It didn't happen as they fell behind by 25 points early in a 122-105 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.
Denver (13-10) fell to 3-8 on the road. With games coming up at New Orleans, Detroit and Boston on this road swing, the Nuggets could find themselves at .500 if they can't put together four solid quarters on enemy territory.
Add key injuries to starters Nikola Jokic (left ankle), whose return date is uncertain, and forward Paul Millsap (left wrist), who will be out the next several months, and the Nuggets are missing a pair that brings nearly 31 points and 17 rebounds.
Their absences make the upcoming road task look increasingly daunting.
The Mavs' offense had the Nuggets' heads spinning. Dallas (7-17) shot 56.8 percent in the first half to take a 64-47 lead into the locker room. The Mavs fended off a couple of Denver hot streaks, including a 35-point third quarter, but never allowed their lead to dip below eight points when it was 88-80 with 2:11 to go in third period.
Overall, Dallas hit 57 percent of its shots from the floor to 41.8 percent from Denver.
Dallas played its best overall game of the season and scored a season-high in points with six players hitting double figures. Harrison Barnes' 22-point, 10-rebound effort led the Mavs, who got 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting from rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr.
Yogi Ferrell contributed 16 points off the bench, Wesley Matthews added 15 points, and Devin Harris had 14 points. Dwight Powell had 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists off the bench, while Dirk Nowitzki finished with nine points.
Reserve Will Barton led the Nuggets, scoring 13 of his 23 points in the third quarter. Jamal Murray finished with 22 points and Gary Harris had 21.
NOTES: Nuggets F Wilson Chandler returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous three games, and four of the past six, with lower back pain. ... Denver C Nikola Jokic missed his second consecutive game with a sprained left ankle. He said Monday the injury is getting better but did not have a timetable for his return. ... The Mavs hosted their 13th annual Seats for Soldiers Night in which courtside season-ticket holders donate their seats to wounded soldiers. Dallas improved to 11-2 on those nights. ... The Mavs scored a season best for any quarter with 39 points in the first.
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