The Mavericks hosted a short handed 1-7 New York Knicks team at the American Airlines Center and let themselves be pushed around by a less talented squad all night. On a night when Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis played exceptional for a majority of the night, the Mavs extras were not able to provide much at in front of the home crowd.
Luka and Porzingis combined for 66 of the Mavericks 102 points while the 9 other guys that played were only able to add 36 more points in the 106-102 loss. Excluding Luka and Porzingis, the rest of the Mavs shot like trash, 13-42 (31%) on field goals including 7-25 (28%) from three and 3-5 (60%) on free throws. This was basically the opposite of the Denver game where Luka and KP didn’t have their best stuff and the rest of the team rallied to bring the Mavs to a victory with nearly everyone scoring in double figures. In this game, Luka and KP were doing work but they were unable to get real quality contributions from anyone else on the roster.
Dallas was battling from behind a majority of this game, every time they would get close the Knicks seemed to come up with a big three pointer to stretch it once again. While the Knicks only shot 41% from the floor, they were incredible from deep, connecting on 14-28 (50%) of their threes. After Marcus Morris was talking trash about being a Porzingis stopper coming into the game, the Mavs allowed him to have the game of his life, ending with 29 points (4 made threes), 9 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Despite being down most of the game, the Mavs still had several chances to steal this game in the final few minutes. While Doncic and Porzingis were exceptional most of the night, two of the most memorable plays down the stretch of the game were mistakes by those two.
The first was a blown rebound by Porzingis off of a missed RJ Barrett free-throw with 30 seconds left in the game gave the Knicks a crucial extra possession when it seemed like the momentum was starting to favor the Mavericks, down 103-99. Porzingis jumped into the lane once the ball hit the rim and watched the ball sail toward the baseline to be scooped up by Julius Randle, leading to two made free throws and a 6 points deficit.
Even still, the Mavericks were able to cut the lead to 3 and possession of the ball with 23 seconds on the clock due to a Tim Hardaway Jr three and 2 more missed free throws by Taj Gibson. Luka brought the ball up the court, with all Mavs fans on the edge of their seat waiting for the Luka Magic, and in 5 seconds he came down and jacked up a 34-foot step back that clanked off the rim. Doncic himself, after the game, expressed that he feels he let his team down by taking that shot. On a night when he was damn near unstoppable going to the rim, with the Knicks only real shot blocker Mitchell Robinson out with a concussion, Luka decided to heave a prayer rather that try to get a quality look for himself or a teammate.
This is an inexcusable loss for a Mavericks team hoping to make some noise in the Western Conference. Yes I get that these are all NBA players and on any given night blah, blah, blah. But this Knicks team is garbage, they were missing several key players, and we let them come in and dictate the game on our home floor. Up until now the Mavs have beaten who they were supposed to beat, won some big games, and their only losses were at the last seconds against really good teams. This one will be a wake-up call that the entire team has a lot of work to do before they can be considered one of the NBA’s elite. When you play a 1-7 team at home, you need to get that win, that’s just the nature of a very deep Western Conference this season.
Luckily for the Mavs they do not have to hold this bad taste in their mouth for long as they now travel to Memphis to play the Grizzlies tonight at 7 pm CT on Fox Sports Southwest. The Grizzlies are 2-6 on the year, another game that the Mavericks SHOULD win, Lets hope they can rally, lock down on defense, and bounce back with a strong win against a divisional opponent.
Key State Lines:
Luka Doncic – 38 pts (career high), 14 rebs, 10 ast, 8 turnovers. 13-26 from the field including 3-11 from three and 9-9 from the line.
Kristaps Porzingis – 28 pts, 9 rebs, 5 blks. 11-22 from the field including 4-8 from three and 2-3 from the line.
Tim Hardaway Jr – 14 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast. 5-15 from the field including 3-10 from three and 1-2 from the line.
Marcus Morris – 29 pts, 9 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl.
Julius Randle – 21 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast.
Frank Ntilikina – 14 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast, 4 stl, 3 blk. 4-5 from three.
RJ Barrett – 3 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast. 1-9 from the field.