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How the Mavs Shut Down the Knicks

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
The Mavs have shown throughout the season that they have the potential to go on some amazing defensive outbursts. On December 5th, they held the Nets to 14 points in the 1st and 4th. On February 15th, they held Houston to 12 in the 3rd. And of course, on February 27th, they held Minnesota to 65 points total and just 8 in the 2nd.

Those are just a few examples, and there was another good one on Tuesday night. Dallas pulled away from the Knicks in the third quarter with their defense. The Knicks scored 13 points on 4-21 shooting. And in the first seven minutes of the quarter the Knicks scored only four points. Here's who helped, and how.
  • Dirk and Howard double team Channing Frye at the free throw line and force him to pass the ball out to Marbury with 4 seconds on the clock. Marbury tries to make a move on Terry, but he gets his hand on the ball. The loose ball bounces to Jared Jeffries who bricks a last second shot. The rebound falls to Curry who misses a defended put-back. Someone one tipped that in for the Knicks first two points -- it might have actually been Dampier.
  • Curry posts up Dampier and attempts a a hook shot about 2 feet further from the basket than he's comfortable at. Curry get the rebound and is fouled by Howard in the process. The refs deem it a shooting foul, but Curry misses both.
  • Jared Jeffries tries a spinning fadeaway on Dirk, but as he spins Dirk gets a peice of the ball. Jeffries tries to recoever but can't get the ball off until he's on his way down - bad miss.
  • Curry again trying to post up Dampier. He awkwardly turns to the basket, but Dampier's hand is in his face and the shot only hits the backboard.
  • Coming off of a Curry screen, Marbury misses a 20 footer. Before the shots even up, Dampier is blocking out Curry for the defensive rebound.
  • On the break, Marbury tries to feed Jeffries under the basket but Dirk get his arm on the ball. Now out of rhythm, Jeffries misses a layup.
  • Steve Francis tries to drive on Harris, but has to settle for a step back fadeaway from 7 feet out that clangs off the front of the rim.
  • Marbury gets by Terry and when Dampier comes over to help he leaves Curry open for a dunk underneath. Dampier shouldn't have left Curry because Terry had done just well enough to not give Marbury a look at the rim.
  • Curry tries to post up Dirk but when he spins toward the hoop, Dirk strips the ball and it goes off Curry's leg and out of bounds. Terry had come over to help and he might have had a piece of the ball too.
  • Francis and Marbury spend all 24 seconds trying to get an open shot against Terry or Harris. Shot clock violation.
  • Dirk blocks a Renaldo Balkman dunk in transition.
That was the 7 minutes. At that point, Diop came in for Dampier and made a mistake, along with Dirk, that allowed Jared Jeffries an open dunk. Avery immediately called timeout.

So here's how they did it. Man-to-man the whole time with Harris, Terry, Howard, Nowitzki, and Dampier on the court. Harris didn't let Marbury, Francis, or Robinson by him once. Terry only allowed someone by him one time -- Marbury coming off of a screen. It led to points, but Terry recovered well. Josh Howard didn't have a tough individual assignment (Jeffries and Balkman) and was used to clog the passing lanes. This also allowed him to focus on defensive rebounding -- which he did quite well (nine in the game). Dirk was matched up against Frye twice and Curry once. Dallas sent help his way each time, but it didn't look like he needed it. He's pretty much perfected the strip move as it worked both times he went to it. Dampier didn't get any help on Curry. It looked like Dampier made Curry catch the ball further from the basket than he was used too because his footwork was weird and it didn't look like he completely knew where the rim was when he put his head up to shoot -- not what you would expect from a guy averaging 19ppg on 57% shooting.