The Dallas Mavericks made their trip to Madison Sqaure Garden Wednesday night to face the ten-win New York Knicks. You’ll recall the Mavericks losing to this same Knicks squad back at the beginning of November. It was a moment that brought a brief turning point for this team, sparking a fun winning month of basketball.
In what became Luka Doncic’s debut and Dirk Nowitzki’s possible curtain call at The Garden, the Mavericks beat the Knicks Wednesday, by a score of 114-90.
Though the first quarter found absolutely zero game flow on either end of the floor, nothing else mattered outside of the NYC-sized welcome Dirk received upon his entrance late in the frame.
Maxi Kleber getting a standing ovation as he checks in. Wait maybe that’s for Dirk pic.twitter.com/Ctbs2XXOcE— Mavs Moneyball (@mavsmoneyball) January 31, 2019
He made good on the ovation by hitting his first shot of the game — a beautiful three near the top of the key. Then Dirk proceeded to cook with nine second quarter points.
Outside of Dirk, the first half was led by five three pointers from Wesley Matthews and a eight point, eight assist, five rebound display from Dennis Smith Jr. The Mavericks led the Knicks 55-47 at the break.
The Mavs started to assert themselves in the third, staying aggressive driving to the basket, creating distance from the Knicks — both on the floor, and in the score.
The Mavericks took care of business, led by a DSJ triple double, with Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews adding 19 and 17 points respectively. Luka Doncic had 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
DSJ in the giving mood
Dennis Smith Jr., who has been noticeably more assertive since his return from “sabbatical”, was dishing all over the floor from the get-go. He hit a career high 12 assist mark midway through the third, and played a balanced game throughout, finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 15 assists. This marked his second career triple double.
It’s been a strange last several weeks for the second year guard, but he’s come back ready to prove a point. The future may remain unclear, but it’s nice seeing his aggressiveness.
Our father, who art Dirk
It’s always nostalgic and sentimental to see Dirk play in these iconic arenas. Wednesday was no different, getting hot for a brief stretch in the first half. Though he’s obviously long past the days of putting up 23 points and eight rebounds (his career averages against the Knicks, the opponent he also has his highest road scoring average against) he still has the ability to put on a show.
After scoring nine in the second quarter, Dirk returned with a little over four minutes left in the game — promptly draining another three. Dirk finished with a season high 14 points.
Soak up these moments, Mavs fans, we only have so many left. Here’s hoping the Mavericks spend the rest of this season developing the young guys, and working harder to feature more Dirk.
The three pointer decides it
The Mavericks haven’t been particularly prolific from long range this season, though they do rank near the top of the league in three point attempts. But tonight in New York they found their touch.
The Mavs connected on 15 of their 38 attempts (nearly 40 percent), and limited the Knicks to 6-of-26 (23 percent). Though it perhaps oversimplifies the game, this stat often tells the story for the Mavs.
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