The Dallas Mavericks (34-23) look to go 3-0 on their 3 game East road trip as they face the New York Knicks (21-35) Monday night at 6:30 PM CT on NBATV.
Both the Mavericks and Knicks are in the midst of a playoff chase, difference is the Mavericks currently sit in the top 8 in the West with a two game lead on the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Knicks are on the outside looking in. The Knicks currently sit 11th in the East and are 5.5 games back of the 8th seeded Atlanta Hawks.
Battle Of The Stars: Carmelo Anthony vs Dirk Nowitzki. Both have had All-Star seasons leading their teams. Shawn Marion will have the responsibility to try to contain Melo, who has been averaging 40.3 points 54.9% shooting. Marion and the Mavs were able to hold Melo to just 19 points on 6-16 shooting in the first meeting of the season. Nowitzki has also been on a hot streak, averaging 22.8 points on 55.6% shooting over his last 10 games. If the Knicks start small, either Melo or J.R. Smith will be matched up on Dirk. In his last 8 games at MSG, Dirk has averaged 29.8 points on 52% shooting (46.4 pt%)
Sammy D vs TC: Mavericks’ fans will never forget Tyson Chandler. If Sam Dalembert wants to win over Mavs fan, this will be the game to do it. Dalembert is coming off a 12 point and 11 rebound game against a big Detroit Pistons frontline. A poor outing against Chandler will make his recent 10 game stretch (8.9 points and 7.8 rebounds) seem irrelevant. Chandler is finally healthy and playing like it, averaging 9.5 points and 10.7 rebounds over his last 10.
Don’t Let Knicks Get Hot: Outside of Melo, the rest of the Knicks haven’t exactly been consistent. Raymond Felton, Smith, and Iman Shumpert haven’t exactly won fans over this season. The Mavs must not allow those three and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. to go off. In the first meeting, Smith, Shumpert, and Hardaway Jr. combined for 27 points on 10-19 shooting. The Mavs must not allow those three and Felton to have efficient nights, especially if Melo is having a big game. Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon must not just do a good job on defense, but must attack the Knicks guards and force them to work on the other side of the court.
Win The Bench: The Mavs bench of Vince Carter, Devin Harris, Brandan Wright, DeJuan Blair, and Wayne Ellington must continue to give the team a boost. Not many teams are able to matchup with the talent of the Mavs, so it’s important that the bench unit takes advantage of their counterparts. The Knicks bench isn’t exactly as deep as the Mavs. Amare Stoudemire and Hardaway Jr. combined to play 58 out of the 66 bench minutes in the loss to the Hawks.
The Mavs have taken down the Philadelphia 76ers and Pistons, but the Knicks, who were expected to be in the top 4 in the East, will be a much different test.
Melo, Chandler, and the Knicks are just as hungry as the Mavs for the playoffs. Expect a close game, especially if the Mavs come out lethargic.
In the previous meeting of the season, the Mavs fell at home to these Knicks 92-80.
The Mavs can’t struggle on the offensive end against as they did in the previous meeting with the Knicks. Even if the defense continues to show improvement, this is a team that will games with its offense for the most part.
The Mavs play next on Wednesday as they head back home to face the New Orleans Pelicans at 7 PM CT on ESPN.
Previous Mavs-Knicks Highlights, sorry JR. Smith untying Marion’s shoelace is not included.