Sorry guys, he's legit. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
The atmosphere in MSG is always a little bit weird. When the game is going, they're pretty quiet. But as soon as something exciting happens, like, say, a score, they go bananas. It's very bipolar. And also they really seem to be buying into this whole Jeremy Lin thing, which was only slightly annoying.
What was more than slightly annoying is the fact that J.R. Smith, a very new Knick, was having his way on offense. As was Lin. The Mavericks were getting violently out-rebounded and worked over by former Mav Tyson Chandler. It wasn't a pretty first quarter, and Dallas gave up 32 points.
Quarter number two saw a nice offensive resurgence by the Mavericks. They were able to put together a 14-2 run to tie the game up briefly. It stayed close, and the Mavericks found ways to stifle the offence (read: Lin). They also got a little more physical, giving the Knicks some hard fouls to think about. They went into the locker room only down 48-45, which wasn't too horrible, all things considered.
I know we've all been nervous at the start of the second half based on the recent performance of our Mavericks right out of the gate. But we saw in Philly that all was not, in fact, lost in the third quarter. Dallas came out with much the same energy and vigor in New York and quickly opened up a lead. Not surprisingly it was Dirk who shouldered the burden, even pulling off the rare four-point play on a fouled three-point shot.
It can't be all rainbows and butterflies, as we know all too well, and the Knicks crept back into the game. And yes, it was Lin who led them there. He even dunked... it wasn't our best moment. The quarter ended with Jason Terry airballing a three and the lead cut to 75-72.
Y'all, I never thought I'd say this, but Linsanity is real. I've watched it with my own eyes. The kid can flat out ball, and he made one of the NBA's toughest defenses look sloppy and slow. The fourth quarter saw another lead change or two, and also the first ever three-point made in an NBA game for Dominique Jones. SO that was special. What wasn't special was Steve Novak absolutely DOMINATING from beyond the arc. Oh, and that Lin kid, too.
If it wasn't for the veteran calm of Jason Kidd and Dirk, the game would have been over with a half a quarter to play. Thankfully they were able to make some baskets when it counted and cut the lead to four with just under five minutes to play. They made it as tight as they could, but a couple of whistles tilted the momentum back into New York's favor. There was a goal-tending call that got the Mavs to within three, but Smith hit a basket with :28.5, putting the game just out of reach. I don't often call out refs because it's too easy, but Dirk got HARDCORE fouled as time was expiring, and the call was completely missed. The Knicks got possession and won the game 104-97.