Image Credit: @MavsPR Twitter
On Friday, the Dallas Mavericks played the New York Knicks to begin the month of April. The Mavericks finished the month of March strong and look to keep the momentum going as the regular season comes to an end. The Mavericks hope to extend their winning streak to three games with this matchup against the Knicks.
On Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks played the Boston Celtics in the final game of the month of March. The Mavericks started this game by getting on a roll as they were able to generate a 64-45 halftime lead. This game wasn’t supposed to be close but the Mavericks allowed it to be as the Celtics generated a huge comeback by getting to within two points of the Mavericks in the final seconds of the game. The Mavericks were able to hold off the Celtics threat for a 113-108 victory. Luka Doncic had 36 points and eight rebounds in the close win. The Mavericks also had production from Jalen Brunson as he provided 21 points off the bench. Kristaps Porzingis had a decent game as he finished with 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the field. With the win, the Mavericks record improved to 25-21 on the season, as they are currently seventh in the western conference. The win also helped the Mavericks generate a winning streak of two games and are now 6-4 in their 10 games. The Mavericks ended the month of March with a record of 9-5, the 9 wins are the most wins the Mavericks have had in any month of the season.
The New York Knicks are coming into this game by going 5-5 in their last 10 games. They are recently coming off a 102-101 close loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday to see their record drop to 24-24 on the season. The Knicks are coming into this season with the hopes of finally trying to make playoffs as the last couple of season weren’t so kind for them. The last time the Knicks made the playoffs was in 2013 and that’s currently the third longest active playoff drought in the NBA. The Knicks are currently sixth in the eastern conference as they have their eyes on the fourth seed. This team is led by Julius Randle as they look to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013, where they reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals. If they could continue to generate some wins and finish the month strong, then they’re on track to snap their playoff drought.
Coming into this game, the Mavericks haven’t played the New York Knicks this season. The Mavericks previously gotten swept on their regular season series last season 2-0 against the Knicks. The Knicks have taken five of the last eight meetings, after the Mavericks won 24 of the previous 29. Of course these two share a lot of history together as they were a part of the “Kristaps Porzingis Trade” in which the Knicks sent Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr, Courtney Lee and Trey Burke to the Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr, DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews and two first round picks. The Knicks hold the Mavericks first round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft to finish off the trade. Overall, the Mavericks hold the all-time series with a record of 41-37.
The Mavericks started this game by still having Willie Cauley-Stein, JJ Redick and Tyrell Terry out. The Mavericks also received the news of head coach Rick Carlisle testing positive for Covid-19 unexpectedly and would be tested again in hopes that it was a false positive test. Rick Carlisle has been fully vaccinated since January prior to this positive test. The result ended up being with Rick Carlisle unable to coach this game as he was waiting for his re-test results, thus allowing Assistant Coach, Jamahl Mosley to serve as the “acting head coach” in this game. As a result, the Mavericks went with Doncic, Richardson, Kleber, Finney-Smith and Porzingis as their starting five in this game. The first points in the game would belong to Josh Richardson as he nailed a two pointer for the Mavericks to get this game underway. The Knicks wouldn’t get their first points until the 10:22 mark as Julius Randle drilled a three pointer to take their first lead of the game at 3-2. Kristaps Porzingis would get his first points in the game on a alley-oop pass from Luka Doncic to reclaim the lead at 10-7 with 8:57 left in the quarter. This is the second time that Kristaps Porzingis has played against the Knicks since being acquired by the Mavericks. The Knicks would call a timeout with 6:52 left in the quarter as the Mavericks built a 12-10 lead. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks got a solid start to this game as they made five of their first ten attempts taken while the Knicks had a tough time scoring points as they only made four of their first twelve attempts taken to begin the game. Coming out of the timeout, Julius Randle made two free-throws to tie the game at 12-12. The Mavericks were able to go on a 6-0 scoring run after Jalen Brunson converted on a layup to take a 18-12 lead with 5:00 minutes left in the quarter. The Knicks were able to cut the deficit to one point after RJ Barrett nailed a jump shot to come within 20-19 of the Mavericks with 2:39 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Knicks were able to take the lead right back and took a 25-22 lead into the second quarter. The game leading scorer after one quarter of play would belong to Luka Doncic as he scored 7 points for the Mavericks. The Knicks were led by Julius Randle and RJ Barrett as they both scored 5 points. This quarter was filled with back-and-forth momentum by both teams as they were exchanging shots for multiple possessions. The Mavericks ended the first quarter by shooting 41.7% on 10-of-24 shooting from the field. The Mavericks were dominating the paint as they out-scored the Knicks 14-4 in the quarter.
The second quarter would begin by having Trey Burke nail a floating jump shot for the Mavericks to get this quarter underway. The Knicks wouldn’t get their first points in the quarter until the 10:40 mark as Immanuel Quickley nailed a jump shot to extend their lead to 27-24. The Knicks were able to extend their lead to seven points after Alec Burks knocked down a three pointer to take a 35-28 lead with 9:02 left in the quarter. The Mavericks would call a timeout with 7:51 left in the quarter after Obi Toppin nailed a put-back dunk to extend their lead to 39-31. Prior to this timeout, the Knicks offense started to roll as they generated a 10-3 run to start to pull away from the Mavericks. The Mavericks offense started to go cold as their last made bucket came at the 8:42 mark on a Dorian Finney-Smith three pointer. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Kristaps Porzingis but a bad Luka Doncic pass led to a three pointer for the Knicks by Alec Burks to extend their lead to 42-31 with 7:34 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were clearly struggling as they couldn’t generate anything on offense thus allowing the Knicks to extend their lead. A much needed three pointer by Dorian Finney-Smith snapped their scoring drought while also cutting their deficit to ten points that forced the Knicks to call a timeout with 5:15 left in the quarter with their lead being cut to 44-34. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks were taking difficult shots and sometimes forcing the ball to Kristaps Porzingis when it didn’t need to. The Knicks were building off momentum from their fans as every time Kristaps Porzingis grabbed the ball, he was being booed and booed even louder with every missed shot. Coming out of the timeout, the Knicks turned to Nerlens Noel but couldn’t convert as he missed a layup that kept the score at 44-34 with 5:00 minutes left in the quarter. A 10-0 run by the Mavericks allowed them to cut their deficit to six points after Tim Hardaway Jr drilled a three pointer to come within 44-41 of the Knicks with 3:24 left in the quarter. This quarter was heavily filled with “a game runs” as each team built some type of run of their own in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were able to come all the way back and erase the Knicks lead as they took a 49-46 lead into halftime, after an 18-2 run to end the quarter. The game leading scorer after two quarters of play would belong to Luka Doncic as he scored 12 points for the Mavericks. The Knicks were led by Alec Burks as he scored 11 points. The Mavericks were able to erase some of their mistakes that were made in the quarter as they finished the quarter strong. The Mavericks ended the first half by shooting 46.7% on 21-of-45 shooting from the field.
Coming out of the half, the Knicks were able to get on the board first in the third quarter by having Immanuel Quickley nail a technical foul free-throw that was called on Kristaps Porzingis as the first half ended to come within 49-47 of the Mavericks. The Knicks called a timeout with 11:04 left in the quarter to use their “Coach’s Challenge” on a foul call on Nerlens Noel with the Knicks leading 50-49 in the quarter. After the review, the Officials ruled the challenge to be successful as the Knicks were able to retain their timeout thus resulting in a “jump ball”. After all of that, Elfrid Payton nailed a driving layup for the Knicks to extend their lead to 52-49 with 10:37 left in the quarter. Maxi Kleber was able to score the first points in the quarter for the Mavericks as he nailed a three pointer with 9:27 left in the quarter to come within 54-52 of the Knicks. The Mavericks were able to comeback and reclaim the lead after Kristaps Porzingis drilled a three pointer to take a 55-54 lead with 8:59 left in the quarter. After the Knicks opened the quarter on a 8-0 run, the Mavericks answered with a run of their own as they generated a 7-0 run to grab control of the game. The Knicks found themselves back in front after Reggie Bullock drilled a three pointer to take a 57-56 lead with 7:42 left in the quarter. The Mavericks would then find themselves back in front after Jalen Brunson drilled a jump shot to take a 60-59 lead with 5:35 left in the quarter. The Knicks would call a timeout with 5:06 left in the quarter after the Mavericks expanded their lead to 62-59. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks offense started to click as they were able to generate a 6-0 run. The Knicks were able to stay within range of the Mavericks due to their defense but their offense had gone quiet. Coming out of the timeout, the Knicks turned to Nerlens Noel but couldn’t convert as he missed a jump shot that kept the score at 62-59 with 4:48 left in the quarter. The Mavericks started to push the pace in the game as they started to gain momentum in the game afterKristaps Porzingis nailed a jump shot to extend their lead to 68-62 with 3:24 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were able to maintain onto their lead as they took a 72-69 lead into the fourth quarter. The game leading scorer after three quarters of play would belong to Alec Burks as he scored 14 points for the Knicks. The Mavericks were led by Luka Doncic as he scored 13 points. The Mavericks were locking the Knicks down that forced the Knicks to take difficult shots in the quarter. Through three quarters of play, the Mavericks were shooting 44.8% on 30-of-67 shooting from the field.
The fourth quarter would begin by having Taj Gibson nail a two pointer for the Knicks to get this quarter underway. The Mavericks weren’t able to get their first points in the quarter until the 11:07 mark by having Tim Hardaway Jr nail a driving layup to extend their lead to 74-71. The Mavericks were able to extend their lead to five points after Luka Doncic nailed a step-back jump shot to take a 76-71 lead with 9:36 left in the game. Both teams would go on to play good defense as neither team could get a shot to fall in for nearly two minutes that resulted in the Knicks calling a timeout with 6:57 left in the game with the Mavericks leading 78-73. Prior to this timeout, the last made basket that either team made was Luka Doncic which came at the 8:57 mark in the quarter. Coming out of the timeout, the Knicks got two free-throws from Alec Burks to come within 78-75 of the Mavericks with 6:57 left in the game. The Mavericks were able to extend their lead to seven points after Jalen Brunson did the “up-and-under move” for an easy layup to take a 82-75 lead with 5:56 left in the game. The Knicks would call another timeout with 5:05 left in the game after the Mavericks extended their lead to 10 points after Jalen Brunson drilled a three pointer to lead 85-75. Prior to this timeout, the Knicks were shooting themselves out of the game as they took one bad possession after another on offense with none of their shots falling down. The Mavericks were able to generate a 7-0 run to maintain control of the game and maintain their lead. Coming out of the timeout, the Knicks turned to Alec Burks but couldn’t convert as he missed a layup that kept the score at 85-75 with 4:44 left in the game. A CRAZY SHOT BY LUKA DONCIC WOULD TAKE PLACE, AS HE NAILED A DIFFICULT 32-FOOT BANK SHOT THREE POINTER to extend their lead to 88-75 with 4:21 left in the game. Luka Doncic would be called for his 11th technical foul of season (as he approaches the technical foul limit before you start missing games) with 3:11 left in the game that resulted in Reggie Bullock nailing the technical foul free-throw to come within 90-76 of the Mavericks. The Knicks basket drought of eight and a half minutes was snapped after Alec Burks drilled a jump shot to come within 90-78 of the Mavericks with 2:57 left in the game. Unless the Knicks went on a serious scoring run, the Mavericks appeared to be leaving the arena with a win.
This team looked like it was going to allow the Knicks to dominate them as the Knicks were in control for most of the first half until the Mavericks decided that it was enough “of the games” and finished the half leading 49-46 on a 18-2 scoring run. This is not the type of game that the Mavericks could afford to lose as they need to win every game in order to gain some ground in the western conference standings, with every game starting to become extremely crucial at this point in the season.
In the end, it was the Dallas Mavericks defeating the New York Knicks 99-86. The Mavericks record would improve to 26-21 on the season. Luka Doncic finished the game with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in the hard fought win. The Knicks were led by Alec Burks as he finished with 20 points off the bench. Kristaps Porzingis (in his return to New York) had a difficult game as he finished with just 14 points but had Jalen Brunson to pick up the slack as he finished with 15 points. With the win, the Mavericks were able to extend their winning streak to three games as they begin the month of April with a win. This was a game of “who could play the better defense” in which the Mavericks won that battle for a win. Congrats on the win for Assistant Coach, Jamahl Mosley as he was the “acting head coach” for this game with Rick Carlisle awaiting results from his Covid-19 re-test.
The Mavericks will finish their five game road trip by heading to Washington, D.C. to play the Washington Wizards on Saturday in the second night of a Back-To-Back.