Mavericks vs. Knicks
Dirk Nowitzki scores 25 points and grabs 6 rebounds and Deron Williams scores 20 points with 7 assists as the Mavericks beat the Knicks 104-97.
Final: Mavs 104, Knicks 97
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
You know you’re playing well when you score more than 1.30 points per possession in the first half and hover around 1.00 in the second half. The Mavs were sizzling all night.
One key to the Mavs’ offensive success this game was keeping the turnover total low. Dallas had just 4 giveaways in the first three quarters, allowing the team to work the clock and find good shot opportunities from inside and out. When this team can control the tempo and play with command, the offense is able to get whatever it wants almost every time down the floor — after that, it’s just a matter of making the shot.
The top-billed matchup in this contest was Dirk Nowitzki vs. Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis. The Latvian was awfully impressive in his first head-to-head tilt against one of his childhood idols, scoring 28 points on 13-of-18 shooting. But Nowitzki’s team won the war, and Dirk wasn’t too shabby, either: He finished with 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting.
Dallas hit 11 three-pointers in the first half, which matched the team’s single-game high this season before Sunday night’s game against the Wizards. Not a bad start for the Mavericks, a team that had missed a higher percentage of open shots than any other club in the NBA before this road trip. It’s good to see the shots beginning to fall for a team with more talent than the stats would suggest.
The Mavs scored 34 points in the first quarter, the highest-scoring opening frame by the club all season. Sparked by Dirk Nowitzki’s 11 points in the first 3:31, Dallas looked extremely sharp for most of the quarter. Deron Williams added 8 points, including back-to-back threes. As a club, the Mavs knocked down 6 of 10 from deep in the first 12 minutes, a welcome sight after such a hot shooting night last night in Washington. It was good to see them carry over that momentum into this game.
One thing you like to see veteran teams able to do is open up a big lead on the road and absorb the inevitable push by the home team to keep things interesting. Dallas opened up an 81-58 lead in the third quarter before the Knicks responded with an 11-1 run to bring things to 82-69. After a timeout, the Mavs outscored New York 6-3 during the rest of the third quarter to go up 16 heading into the fourth. It might not seem like much, but being able to just score a single bucket when the momentum starts to shift goes a long way toward winning games. The same thing happened late in the fourth quarter as a 10-0 Knicks surge brought the game to within 7 at 98-91. Then Raymond Felton knocked down a floater, the Mavs defense stepped up, and a technical foul on Carmelo Anthony helped the team stretch the lead back to double-digits. What’s more, Dallas is now 12-0 this season when leading after three quarters. Veteran teams win winnable games, and this one certainly applies.
The Mavs (13-9) play the Atlanta Hawks (13-9) Wednesday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 8:30 p.m. Central.