Playing without three of their usual starters, the Denver Nuggets turned to Will Barton. Barton, in turn, turned in his best game of the season, scoring 31 points to lead Denver past red-hot Dallas 110-87 at Pepsi Center.

Emmanuel Mudiay (back) missed his sixth of nine games, and Danilo Gallinari (groin) missed his third in a row. Head coach Michael Malone was also without Kenneth Faried (personal) against a Mavericks team that had won four in a row and six of seven entering Monday’s contest. Nikola Jokic (hip) remained on a minutes restriction, but logged 13 points in 24 minutes.

Malone rolled out a three-guard starting lineup that included Barton, Gary Harris and Jameer Nelson. Wilson Chandler earned another start in place of Galllinari, logging 40 minutes and a double-double in the win. Denver played its strongest defensive quarter of the season in the second, limiting Dallas to just 13 points. The Mavericks answered with 30 in the third, but Denver put the clamps back on in the fourth to cruise to the big win.

Denver now embarks on a three-game East Coast road trip that begins in Atlanta on Wednesday. They travel to New York on Friday and then face the world champion Cavaliers in Cleveland on Saturday. At 23-28, Denver now has a 1.5 game lead on Portland for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.