Sunday, March 14, 2010
New York Knicks 128, Dallas Mavericks 94
The way Saturday night transpired was not the way the Dallas Mavericks saw their 13-game winning streak coming to an end.
After handing the New York Knicks a 50-point loss on their home floor back on January 24, the Dallas Mavericks knew that they would get New York's best effort in the second meeting. They certainly did. More importantly, the Mavericks entered the night with the opportunity to grab the NBA's longest winning streak of the season if they could add one more notch onto their 13-game victorious stretch. They didn't.
Instead the Knicks got even, torching the Mavericks on their home floor and ending Dallas' streak dead in its tracks with a 128-94 blowout loss.
"Obviously players in this league have a lot of pride. When we beat them by 50, they didn't forget it," forward Dirk Nowitzki said after the loss.
"We were poor defensively. And look, we were poor offensively, too," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle added. "It was a poor performance all around. We really didn't come close to winning a quarter. When you get thoroughly thrashed like that, it's something that's difficult. We've got work to do."
The night began with so much promise. Things seemed to be aligning for a Mavericks' victory before the game. It seemed only right that the Mavericks welcomed Puerto Rico native J.J. Barea back to the squad as they recognized the NBA's "Noche Latino." Barea returned to the court after missing a game with a sprained left ankle. With Barea back in action, "Los Mavs" took the hardwood not wearing their traditional green on St. Patrick's Day, but instead sporting their alternative royal uniforms with stitched-in insignia to honor Spanish Heritage Month.
Before the tip, Mexico native Eduardo Najera addressed the capacity crowd to make the Dallas faithful feel at home. But shortly afterwards, the Mavericks didn't feel quite at home themselves. The Knicks quickly jumped out to a 9-2 lead on the Mavs out of the gates. New York's early advantage was short-lived though. Behind Caron Butler and Nowitzki, the Mavericks rallied with an 11-2 run to briefly go in front. But in a quarter full of runs, not even point guard Jason Kidd's 140th made 3-pointer of the season, the most for a season in his illustrious career, was enough to keep the Knicks from taking a 30-25 lead at the end of one. The Knicks' 10-of-18 shooting bettered the Mavericks' 9-of-21 in the first quarter. New York also hit 3-for-3 from behind the 3-point arch, which would become a trend.
"We just didn't come out with energy tonight," Barea said. "I've got to give credit to the Knicks -- they came out to play, they made shots and they made the game a lot harder on us tonight."
"We obviously weren't close enough to them early in the game to knock them off their rhythm. They got going. They are a very potent offensive team," Carlisle said of the visiting squad.
Knicks reserve forward Al Harrington began the second stanza on a tear. With Harrington attacking the rim, the Mavericks fell behind as much as 13 in the second quarter. But the Mavericks stayed in contention with timely scoring from Barea and Nowitzki. Still, the Mavericks couldn't overcome five second quarter turnovers. Because of Dallas' miscues and giveaways, the Mavericks entered the half down 58-48.
"They came out, hit a lot of shots and got into a rhythm. That was the story all night," Butler said.
New York out-shot Dallas 52 percent to 45 percent in the half. The Knicks' 14 points off the Mavericks' eight first half turnovers was the formula for the double-digit advantage. Meanwhile, Harrington led all scorers at the midway point with 15 points. Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 12 points in the first 24 minutes of play.
The Dallas defense continued to struggle to begin the third quarter, while the offense sputtered as well. With Tracy McGrady connecting on an array of jumpers, the Mavericks fell behind by as much as 25. New York outscored Dallas 33-18 in the third to enter the final period with a 91-66 advantage.
As Bill Walker scored with ease en route to a career night, New York's insurmountable lead reached as much as 37 in the fourth quarter, making a comeback attempt nearly impossible. The frustration on the Dallas bench was apparent when Nowitzki picked up a technical foul for arguing with the officials with 5:31 remaining.
"If you get embarrassed in your own gym, there's going to be some frustration," Nowitzki said.
The game was never in doubt the remainder of the way as both squads emptied their benches.
"The end result was really a lopsided game, to say the least ... Over a 24-day period, when you don't lose a game, you're going to have teams gunning for you and you're going to have teams showing up that are going to get hot," Carlisle concluded. "If you don't have answers, it's going to be ugly. Tonight was ugly.
"I think this kind of night defines you to a certain degree. It's the adage about on a given night, anything can happen."
The tables were completely flipped in comparison to the Mavericks' 128-78 shellacking of the Knicks back in January.
"It's not about what you did the last time against a team, it's about what you did tonight" Kidd said. "Unfortunately, we didn't get it done."
New York finished the night connecting on 56 percent of their shots from the field. Dallas meanwhile hit on just 43 percent at the other end. The Knicks also swished in 16-of-30 shots from behind the arch.
"They hit 16 threes. We knew they were a team that has been streaky from the 3-point line. They are capable of both making 10 or 15, or they are capable of having a lot of misses," the coach said.
But the Knicks weren't missing much of anything on this night. With a 46-36 edge in points in the paint and 19 points scored off Dallas' 15 total turnovers, the Knicks featured six scorers in double figures. Four of which scored 20-plus, led by Walker's career-high 23 points on 9-of-12 from the floor and 5-of-8 from 3-point range.
"They had a lot of answers tonight, and we played poorly," Carlisle said of New York's balanced scoring attack.
Despite a lackluster night at both ends of the floor, the Mavericks did have five players that scored in double figures. Nowitzki recorded his 15th double-double of the season, scoring 20 points on 5-of-13 shooting while also grabbing 12 rebounds. Kidd added 15 points, while Barea scored 14 in his return. Shawn Marion (14) and rookie Rodrigue Beaubois (13) also reached double figures, albeit in a loss.
Now the Mavericks try to get back on the winning track with two more matchups left on a four-game home stand.
"All good things come to an end. We'll just have to start another streak," Butler said.
"We've got a long three days before the next game, and we have a couple of practice days, Monday and Tuesday, where we're going to have to get some things done," Carlisle said while looking ahead.
The home stretch concludes with an 8 p.m. date with the Boston Celtics next Saturday. That game will also appear on KTXA. The Mavericks handed the Celtics a 99-90 home loss on January 18 in the first meeting between the teams.
Tickets for both games are still available and can be purchased by calling 214-747-MAVS.
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