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Three things we learned from the Mavericks' 104-97 win over the Knicks

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The Mavericks nearly squandered a big lead late in the fourth but held on to win their second in as many nights.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

For most of this game, the Mavericks didn't look one bit like a team on the second game of a road back-to-back. Things got a little messier in the second half, and the Knicks rallied to pull within four after falling behind by 23 in the fourth, thanks in part to the Mavs giving up more turnovers in that quarter than in other three combined. But Dallas held on and earned its second win in as many nights.

The Mavericks seem like they could really be a top ten offense and defense

The Mavericks are currently the 11th best defense in the league and the 12th best offense, but top ten in both seems well within sight if the team keeps up the level of play they showed at times tonight.

The offense in the first half looked particularly good, with the three-point shots continuing to fall. The team ignored the paint (where they scored a paltry 10 first-half points) and instead took 20 three-point shots in the first half alone (the team normally takes 26 three-point attempts per game). They made 11 of them to earn 63 points by halftime, the team's highest scoring half all season. They did all of this while committing just three turnovers (JaVale McGee was responsible for two of them) and five fouls.

Tim Cato wrote earlier this week that the Mavericks have been working a little too hard to find their shots and missing seemingly easy shots as a result. But tonight the offense gave a remarkably efficient performance and featured some changes that seemed to ensure that this strategy finally paid off.

The Mavericks assisted on a much, much higher than usual percentage of their shots during their first-half run, but this time the extra passes found their way into the hands of well-positioned shooters. The team's unusually high number of three-point shots in the first half wasn't just due to the pace of the game. In an average game, 26 of the Mavericks 83 field goal attempts are from behind the arc, but they took nearly 50 percent of their shots from deep during the first half tonight. It worked out very well.

The depleted backcourt held its own

Despite missing two guards and bringing Chandler Parsons off the bench, the team's backcourt looked pretty good with Raymond Felton starting. Deron Williams looked fantastic, making half of his three-point shots and scoring 20 points with seven assists. Felton continued his contrast year performance with 6-11 shooting, and even John Jenkins got in on the action, contributing seven points in his 12 minutes.

Dirks tells Kristaps Porzingis to get off his lawn

Dirk showed the rookie standout that he's not ready to pass on the "tall white dude with an accent" mantle just yet.  Dirk had an emphatic opening tonight, going 4-4 and scoring 9 points in the first three minutes, and he didn't stop there. He led all Mavericks with 25 points on 18 shots with six rebounds.

Porzingis had a strong game, scoring 28 on 18, but struggled in other areas with only two rebounds and a single assist. Take note, young fellow: