After the Broncos’ gut-wrenching loss last night in Philly, at least Denver sports fans could look forward to the Denver Nuggets hosting the Dallas Mavericks at the Pepsi Center. After all, the Nuggets are nearly unbeatable at home, and Dallas is the team the Nuggets swept in the regular season last year and stomped on with ease in the playoffs. Instead, the Nuggets came up woefully short, dropping the game 104-96.

The Mavericks, along with a head cold, were able to hold the prolific Carmelo Anthony to just 16 points, and they forced him to foul out of the game.

Aside from a couple of highlights, the rest of the team wasn’t much help, notes The Denver Post, which writes that the Nuggets’ bench was “dreadful,” with Chris “Birdman” Andersen, Anthony Carter, and J.R. Smith shooting 7-24 (less than 30 percent) and netting just 20 points. The Dallas bench, on the other hand, shot more than 50 percent from the field and tallied 49 points.

Denver Stiffs compares the game to a holiday meal: It offered plenty of good stuff early, but overeating early leads to an upset stomach and a long night of battling the nasty side effects. The Nuggets had just 20 assists on the night, leading to way too much one-on-one play and poor shot selection (I’m looking at you, J.R. Smith). That’s enough to drive coach George Karl crazy; let’s hope it doesn’t make him reconsider the long-term deal the team has supposedly offered him.

On Christmas Eve, the Post reported that the team offered Karl, whose contract expires at the end of the season, $12 million over the next three years. Karl has hinted that the offer may not be enough and that he might have to “be a businessman,” perhaps alluding to rumors that he believes he deserves to be paid more than $4 million annually, reports Yahoo! Sports, which points out that most Western Conference coaches make more than $4 million per year.