Knicks 92, Mavericks 80: Game Recap

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The Knicks finished their Texas Triangle trip up strongly, defeating the Dallas Mavericks by a score of 92-80.

- You don’t want to overreact to three games, but the Knicks continued their stellar play with a win in Dallas, and look to have put their early season demons behind them. Instead of leaving the state with nothing but a fluke win over the Spurs, the team was just a J.R. Smith brain fart away from sweeping the Texas Triangle.

- Despite losing Tyson Chandler less than five minutes into the game, the Knicks stayed in the driver’s seat almost the whole time, playing some of their best basketball early on. Dallas was totally overmatched by a Knicks squad that simply looked like they wanted it more right out of the gate. New York was energized on both sides of the floor, but the defense was exceptional , holding the Mavs to just 35 points in the first half. Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, and Vince Carter were Dallas’s top scorers, but it took them a combined 37 field goal attempts and 17 free throws to get to 34 points.

- The defining first quarter was possibly Carmelo Anthony’s best as a Knick. He helped keep the offense in sync, handing out three assists, while staying dependable at putting the ball in the hole, chipping in 15 points. Melo went on to miss every other field goal he took until the fourth quarter, but he finished with a complete stat line, ending with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals, and a highlight reel block on a Shawn Marion fastbreak layup attempt.

- The third quarter almost doomed the Knicks for the eight-jillionth time this season, but a strong finish to the fourth put the Mavs away for good. Iman Shumpert fell back to Earth offensively, but still managed to stay relevant by closing out Dallas with an acrobatic layup followed by a three-point in the final two minutes. His stats didn’t reflect the impact he had on the floor, staying in Monta Ellis’s pocket all night and making nothing easy. Shump isn’t going to drop 20-plus every night, so a dip in scoring was expected, but it’s still nice to see that he’s willing to stay engaged, even on an off shooting night.

- Chandler left after just 4:24 of playing time because of an upper respiratory infection. You have to give him credit for trying to give it a go, but in the end, he was unable to tough it out. Modern medicine dictates that he should be able to play by Tuesday night’s matchup against the Pistons.

- Kenyon Martin stepped his game up sans Chandler, putting up a season-high 14 points and six rebounds. He led the team with a +15 and guarded Nowitzki about as well as anyone could ask him to do. Chandler’s absence also meant 50 seconds of Cole Aldrich time.

- Toure Murry and Tim Hardaway Jr. continued to play well together, combining for15 points on 6-11 shooting. Murry made a couple of mistakes with the ball, but that is to be expected with a rookie, and if Woodson is going to continue to give him minutes, the team will have to deal with it. His defense makes him a much more viable option than Beno Udrih, but I’m not sure if he’ll be given a chance once Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni return. I’d like to see the rookie duo play with Iman Shumpert for defensie purposes, but it was J.R. Smith who complimented them tonight. J.R. did J.R. things tonight, shooting 3-8 from the field, but grabbing seven rebounds and finishing with a +11.

- The Raptors and Celtics both lost road games, bringing the Knicks one game closer to a playoff spot. With 49 games to go, it’s anyone’s division. The Knicks will be at home for the next two games, the first being an Eastern Conference matchup with the Pistons on Tuesday night. As always, Turn On The Knicks will have you covered.

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