Let's get this out of the way first: a team that scored 70 points IN A HALF one game ago struggled to score just over that many in a WHOLE GAME. SIGH.
In a game the Mavericks had to have (because really, they have to have every game at this point to keep pace in a stacked West), they drew the Knicks at a time when the Knicks have figured some things out. This was a pretty uninspired game all around.
Here's your basic first half summary:
Dirk shouts:"What the f--- are we doing, man?" Lady in crowd hollers: "That's what I want to know!"— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 6, 2014
But here are some words to explain, if you'd like them.
The first quarter started evenly enough: Dirk got a lot of looks early, hitting 2 of the first 3 baskets. Both teams sticking with lots of jumpers -- and lots of turnovers -- with neither really dominating. Dirk had a fun shot about halfway through, with a sweet little pump fake, plus a foul.
Tyson Chandler would leave the game about halfway into the quarter with what was reported as an upper respiratory issue. But the Knicks didn't seem to miss him, as they went on a run and didn't really give it up. Shumpert seemed to keep Monta locked down, as he was unable to contribute much -- though the rest of the team seemed to be getting good enough looks. But shots just weren't falling. Score at the end of the first saw the Mavs down 12. Carmelo Anthony had FIFTEEN points to the Mavs' 17 total.
Also, the mascot showed up and hung out in the press box for a while, which was...interesting.
The Mavs didn't have terribly much luck eating into that lead early in the second. Shane Larkin was the first backup point off the bench, and had a nice drive to the basket for lay in, but subsequently missed a pull up jumper. The Mavs couldn't seem to figure out the Knicks' D. Wayne Ellington got some run in the second as well, because why not, I guess. The team simply could not buy a shot thought, and the Knicks capitalized the rest of the quarter, scoring seemingly at will and not letting the Mavs get anything going. A Monta Ellis fast break dunk towards the end of the half breathed a little life into the AAC crowd -- and the game -- but halftime still saw the Mavs down, 35-52.
So, to the third, with some work to do. DeJuan Blair with a couple quick shots, but still nope. About three minutes into the quarter, with the Mavs down 19, Carlisle called timeout -- and it appeared he waited a while to join the huddle. Whatever happened in that huddle seemed to help. The Mavs came back in playing with a purpose, and immediately went on a run, cutting the lead to 13 and then to 10...a ridiculous blocked shot by Vince had the crowd oooooooh-ing as it sent the game to the fourth.
The Mavs would cut the lead to single digits for a hot second, but some bad passing by Mekel and some bad play in general killed that run quickly. The Knicks kept the Mavs at bay for most of the quarter, but in the last three minutes the Mavs finally (FINALLY) woke up a little. Calderon hit a few shots that he had been missing all night, cutting the lead to six with two minutes to go. Shumpert buried a three completely wide open after it appeared Dirk missed a defensive assignment, and it all went downhill from there.
Mavs 80, Knicks 92. Uninspired. And until they fix whatever their execution problems are...not a playoff team.
Let's hear what y'all got in the comments below.