Lockout levity: Those crazy Nuggets

Well, well, well, the owners and the players are have resumed negotiations and today looms as a critical period if the league is sincere about getting things up and running for a Christmas start.

We've heard the two sides have been close before and how'd that end? With phrases like "total breakdown of the collective bargaining process" and the scariest of all, "nuclear winter."

Maybe it will be just a few weeks of a nuclear autumn?

We'll find out over the course of the next few days. For now let's take a look at the latest Dallas Mavericks game gone down the tubes because of the lockout.

Today's canceled game: at Denver Nuggets

Game No.: 13

Mavs pretend record: 8-4

Last season's matchup: Who doesn't remember where they were on Feb. 10, 2010, when the Mavs stood 2:51 away from running their second long win streak of the season to 11 games on the home floor of the proud, but not all together bright, Denver Nuggets. The Mavs eased up just a bit too soon. The Nuggets rallied, Dirk Nowitzki amazingly missed a free throw to lead by just two and Aaron Afflalo, who scored 19 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, dropped the incredible game-winner, a 19-foot jumper at the buzzer for the win. Carmelo Anthony had fouled after scoring 42 points and Chauncey Billups had 30. Jason Terry led the Mavs with 25 points and Tyson Chandler had 20 points and 11 boards. Nowitzki finished with 16 with one of those rare, low-scoring games. The Mavs then won their next eight games. Yet, who can forget April 6 as well when the new-look Nuggets came into Dallas and beat the Mavs when coach Rick Carlisle controversially rested Jason Kidd against a team they might face in the first round, and a team -- as Nuggets coach George Karl pointed out -- that wanted the Mavs.

What might have been: Things are always interesting when these two clubs meet. But, wow, this season would be a totally different story. Anthony and Billups both play in New York. Sixth man J.R. Smith is a free agent and might not be back. Impressive center Nene is one of the top three free agents with the Mavs' Chandler and New Orleans' David West. About the only thing that can be guaranteed in this matchup is a lot of scoring.

What's been missed: The Mavs have obviously missed getting their championship rings and raising the banner. Among the first 13 games canceled, four division games have been wiped out, plus fun matchups against the Nuggets and Oklahoma City.

Next canceled game: Saturday vs. Cleveland Cavaliers