With the Mavericks having failed to defeat a team with a winning record and the Knicks leading the NBA at 8-1, defeating the visiting Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler & Co. didn’t seem all that likely and after trailing in the early going it appeared no upset was going to occur. The Knicks were hitting from downtown and a staggering pace and the Mavs were lucky to hang in. After the half, however, the Mavs jumped out to a 12-point lead and while they couldn’t maintain it, they held on for the win.
Former Mavs Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd had huge games for the Knicks, as did Raymon Felton who is doing a remarkable job replacing Jeremy Lin in his second tour with the Knicks.
Carmelo Anthony scored a team-high 23 points but was frustrated by the Mavs’ swarming defense led by Shawn Marion, which drew a couple of offensive fouls and helped Anthony commit 7 turnovers. Chandler had a double-double (21 points, 13 rebounds) as did Raymond Felton (18 points, 11 assists). In his return to Dallas, Kidd was 5-for-8 from 3-point range and an outstanding game overall with 17 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals.
The Mavericks found the range from 3-point land, albeit not ’til the second half, and O. J. Mayo continued to be a sparkplug. While New York dominated from downtown in the first half, the Mavs turned the tables behind Vince Carter and that largely proved to be the difference.
The Mavs outrebounded the Knicks even with Chris Kaman having a subpar night and Troy Murphy playing relatively few minutes after leaving the game with a respiratory illness.
Vince had a season high and continued to ease the pain of losing Jason Terry, scoring inside and out including an amazing reverse under the basket reminiscent of Dr. J., finishing with 25 points.
O. J. Mayo continued to be a focus of the offense and led the team with 27 points.
Darren Collison returned to form and scored 19 points while dishing out 7 assists.
Jae Crowder returned to the rotation and matched his season high with 12 points.
Shawn Marion did his usual stellar job of frustrating Carmelo Anthony and had help from Dahntay Jones and Jae Crowder, who were all effective and drawing contact. Although Melo did end up with leading the Knicks he was frustrated much of the game and ended up fouling out after committing 7 turnovers. The rest of the Matrix’s stat line looked pretty typical: 7 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and the defense that shows up on the other’s guys number.
Troy Murphy left after 17 minutes not to return do to illness and only scored a couple of points at the free throw line but still managed to nab 5 rebounds.
Roddy B did not make it into the game and as Dominique Jones appears to be hitting his stride, the official end of the Roddy experiment may be drawing near.
Elton Brand is still not finding the range and only scored 4 points on 1-of-3 shooting, but did manage to grab 8 rebounds in 20 minutes. He ended up playing a lot of center rather than Brandan Wright or Bernard James and unfortunately both Chandler and Rasheed Wallace had better-than-average nights.
Brandan Wright and Bernard James also did not make it into the game, even with Troy Murphy leaving with a respiratory problem. While the Mavs managed to outrebound the Knicks, they still have no one with an athletic inside game and this may come back to haunt them. Kaman contines to be effective on occasional post ups and with his midrange jumper but it would be nice to have more of an inside-outside game.
The Mavericks turned the ball over repeatedly in the first half. They were able to turn it around in the second half but that is a statistic that will continue to cause problems if not rectified.
The Knicks had a big lead early and almost came back to win. In the end it’s the final score that matters and both teams played a great game. The danger is relying too heavily on the jump shot. The Mavericks have had success with that in the past but any team is much better being more versatile.
Without Wright, James, Kaman or Brand establishing consistent presence in the low post, the team will rely too heavily on outside shooting and when the shots don’t fall (as they haven’t for much of the year), the results won’t be as pretty. Now granted, Chandler is arguably the best low-post defender in the league so the Knicks might not be the easiest team to score inside on but this has been a pattern for too much of the year and with Wright out, it is likely to be worse.
For the year, Kaman has done a great job overall and is still among the NBA leaders in field goal percentage but Brand is still struggling and Wright, the only Mav who consistently plays above the rim, has been benched. Personally I believe relying too much on the jumper is going to come back to haunt them. One of the major purposes of having great outside shooters isn’t ONLY to sink those shots, but also to “spread the floor” and force the opposing team to respect the shooters rather than double-teaming or clogging up the lane. That being the case, the Mavs should take advantage.
The Mavericks also need to work on their own pick and roll and low-post defense. Felton and Chandler carved them up in the middle and Vince Carter was frequently left trying to guard bigger players. Chandler had three 3-point opportunities in the later stages of the game and ended up more than doubling his average with a season-high 21. The Mavs had a lot of trouble with big men last year and that appears to be happening again, despite the presence of Kaman, Brand and James on the roster.
You can’t discount a win against the hottest team in the league; however the Mavs still had a couple of issues which could be problematic. Streaky shooting will occasionally happen to any team but streaky turnovers shouldn’t. Mayo, Kaman and Carter are proving to be very consistent performers and if the Mavs can stop the mistakes and continue to improve the rebounding, the team can go far. The next game against the improving Lakers will be a good chance to see if the Knicks game was a fluke.
The Lakers, Part Deux. Since the Mavs defeated them on opening day, the Lakers have a new coach and are playing a lot better. In the interest of annoying Laker fans, let’s hope for a repeat performance.
Tags: Carmelo Anthony Chris Kaman Dahntay Jones Dallas Dallas Mavericks Darren Collison Dirk Nowitzki Jason Kidd NBA NBA. Dallas Mavericks Raymond Felton Roddy Beaubois Shawn Marion Tyson Chandler Vince Carter