The New York Knicks jumped on the Dallas Mavericks early and maintained their large advantage all the way to the final buzzer. After outscoring the home team 29-17 in the first quarter, the Knicks and Mavs were squared up for the remainder of the contest. The 12-point advantage held, and the Knicks escaped with another win.
After beating the Spurs in San Antonio on Thursday night, the Knicks only lost to the Rockets by two points on the second night of a back-to-back on Friday night. For their third Texas road game in four nights, the Knicks managed to hold the Mavs to just 80 total points on the evening. The Mavs were led by Dirk Nowitzki’s 18 points on 6 of 11 shooting. Uncharacteristically, Nowitzki shot just 5 of 9 on the night from the free throw line.
In what was an offensively-challanged game, the Knicks were led by Carmelo Anthony’s 19 points on 6 of 16 shooting from the field. More impressively, Anthony played a complete, all-around game, racking up 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and a block with only one turnover. Kenyon Martin scored 14 points off the bench, shooting an ultra-efficient 7 of 8 from the floor.
It may be too quick to say that the Knicks have turned their season around, but winning two out of three games in four nights, on the road, against the Spurs, Rockets, and Mavericks is certainly impressive. Tyson Chandler did leave tonight’s game after just four minutes on the court with what was initially termed as a possible upper respiratory infection. And it isn’t like the schedule gets much easier for the Knickerbockers, with Miami, Phoenix, Indiana, and the Clippers all on the slate in the next seven games.
The Knicks are probably better than an 11-22 team when fully healthy, but they aren’t anywhere near what they think they should be, or where they ended up last year. The playoffs are still a possibility, given the condition of the Atlantic Division (and the Eastern Conference).
They do, however, have J.R. Smith. And he loves to untie his opponent’s shoes.