Nuggets coach Brian Shaw calls it "road mentality."

As in: "We need to develop a road mentality." Or: "Our road mentality was good.'

It deals with execution under pressure, sticking to the details even through adversity and finding a way to dig down on defense, particularly down the stretch.

The Nuggets hadn't shown much of that road mentality, but that changed Monday night when they completed a two-game sweep of the Mavericks, winning 110-96 at the American Airlines Center.

J.J. Hickson hit 8-of-11 shots and led Denver (7-6) with 22 points.

"In this league," Hickson said, "it's difficult to beat any team on any given night. Especially when you're playing them back-to-back. We had a day off in between. We knew they were 7-0 (at home), and we were up for the challenge."
Said Shaw: "J.J. was huge for us."

The Nuggets are above .500 for the first time this season. And they did it with timely shooting against the Mavericks, some big performances and good defense when they needed it. The result was Denver's third straight win overall and seventh in the last 10 games.

"It feels good," Shaw said of being over .500. "Obviously we put ourselves in a hole to start the season. But what I wanted to see was us continue to get better, practice after practice, game after game. And we're starting to do that."

These aren't your Nuggets of late October. Not anymore.

Those Nuggets filled up a couple of columns on the stat sheet, just to give away three others. That team was constantly stagnant on the offensive end of the court, unsure of what the players wanted or where they should be. This one is not.

And the Nuggets of late November? They're a supremely confident bunch — even when they aren't doing things the way Shaw wants them done.