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Dirk overpowers Amare, Knicks

It’s been a reoccurring theme all season in that the New York Knicks hang with an elite team for most of the game but still come up short – and last night was no different in a 113-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.    

It’s been a reoccurring theme all season in that the New York Knicks hang with an elite team for most of the game but still come up short – and last night was no different in a 113-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

New York [25-23] started off owning the glass and scoreboard, as it led 34-27 after the first quarter. During that span, the Knicks held their own on the boards [Dallas had 12, while New York had 10] and Amar’e Stoudemire and Danilo Gallinari had 11 and 10 points, respectively. Stoudemire had 21 points – all in the first half – and three blocks. Gallo finished with a team-high 27 points, six rebounds, a block, and two steals. But as the second quarter proceeded, Dallas [33-15] showed why it’s a serious championship contender, as its depth overwhelmed New York, extending its six-game winning streak.

The Mavs were led by Dirk Nowitzki’s game-high 29 points and 11 rebounds, DeShawn Stevenson’s 13 points and five rebounds, 10 assists from Jason Kidd, and 15 points and 11 rebounds from Tyson Chandler. They weren’t alone as key reserves JJ Barea added 22 points and Shawn Marion chipped in with 10 rebounds off the bench. Barea started the game as a reserve but finished on the floor as his starting the second half instead of the plodding Brian Cardinal was the turning point. Barea, who added three assists, three rebounds, and a steal, turned the tide when he executed a traditional three-point play with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter. Stevenson followed that up with a long three-pointer on the ensuing possession to cap a 10-0 Mavs run. Dallas never looked back after establishing what turned out to be an insurmountable 82-58 lead.

New York had some bright spots, including a 15-3 run to end the third, but they were too few and far in between. Stoudemire was completely silenced, going scoreless in the second half. Meanwhile Gallinari, who was hot when he actually touched the ball, went too many stretches without taking a shot and was largely ignored in the fourth, scoring only four points in the final stanza.


WHAT WE SAW:

1. Amar’e Stoudemire had a very strong start, netting 21 points in the first half against the longer Mavs’ frontline. Stoudemire, who also added three blocks, went through and around whomever was checking him to start. Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood, and Shawn Marion all got theirs when trying to slow him down. Too bad Stoudemire’s performance was the exact opposite in the second half.

2. Raymond Felton continued his late push to be an All-Star reserve with 11 points and nine assists – without a turnover. Felton more than held his own against all-time great Jason Kidd and worked over Kidd’s backups, Jason Terry and JJ Barea. Felton was in total control all night and also added three rebounds and a blocked shot.

3. Defensive breakdowns were everywhere for the Knicks, especially in the pivotal third quarter, when they were outscored 30-21. New York started the game pretty well defensively, allowing 27 first-quarter points but fell apart to start the second half. Dallas went on a 10-0 run to start the period and never looked back.

4. The Mavs inserted its speed lineup to start the second half, as Barea started instead of the plodding Brian Cardinal. Barea instantly started to get the Mavs rolling and worked the Knicks. DeShawn Stevenson, who started at shooting guard, slid to the small forward spot and damaged the Knicks lineup. The best sequence of the duo came with 4:27 remaining, as they executed back-to-back three-point plays. The diminutive Barea finished a three-point play by weaving in and out of the bigs and Stevenson knocked down a three to give the Mavs its largest lead, 82-58.

5. Outside of Toney Douglas’s 22 points, the Knicks’ bench was again non-existent. Timofey Mozgov couldn’t duplicate his magic as he only netted four points in 15 minutes of action. Not counting Douglas’s night, the remaining Knicks’ reserves had 12 points in 43 minutes. The lowlight was key reserve Shawne Williams fouling out in only 23 minutes of action and only netting two points.





 
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