NBA: Mavericks halt three-game skid after Nuggets go missing in third quarter

(REUTERS) - A stone-cold third period from the Denver Nuggets allowed the Dallas Mavericks to flip the contest and record a 92-81 victory on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak in the National Basketball Association.

After shooting better than 50 per cent from the field in the first half and taking a 52-48 lead over the Mavericks into half-time, the Nuggets could not buy a bucket in the third quarter. They went point-less in the first 8:55 of the quarter and finished with just two field goals and five points.

It turned a promising start into a sixth consecutive loss, as Dallas (10-7) used the 25-5 quarter to get the much needed win at American Airlines Centre.

"It was big for us, especially to win at home," Mavs guard Raymond Felton said. "We've been travelling a lot - that's how the schedule is, that's how it goes sometimes - so to get this win at home was really big for us, behind those three losses on the road. We're back on the road tomorrow with tough teams."

Denver's five points set a Dallas franchise record for the lowest total in a quarter by an opponent. The Nuggets, outscored 16-0 in the opening eight minutes while going 0 of 15 from the floor, ended the quarter two of 19 shooting, including one of eight from beyond the arc, with nine turnovers.

"We play great in stretches. We went three quarters tonight, but that third quarter was decisive - 25-5," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "Turnovers - you can't go on the road and beat yourself. We talked about that at half-time. We had 10 turnovers at the half. We wound up having 22 turnovers for 19 points, and nine of those were in the third quarter.

"So when you are struggling to score, you cannot beat yourself by turning the ball over that many times."

The Nuggets' 81 points was a low by a Mavs opponent this season.

Dallas point guard Deron Williams hit four three-pointers and led all scorers with 22 points, his second-highest scoring game of the season. Centre Zaza Pachulia had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and forward Dirk Nowitzki finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. Felton contributed 12 off the bench.

Forward Darrell Arthur paced Denver (6-11) with 16 points. Guard Will Barton had 14 points off the bench and Danilo Gallinari, who typically has big games against the Mavs, finished with 12 points.