On Friday, November 8th, the Dallas Mavericks host the New York Knicks in an important match up for an on-the-rise Dallas squad. This game holds special significance for Maverick Kristaps Porzingis, as it will be the first contest against his former team since his trade early in 2019.
It should also be many Mavericks’ fans first look at rookie-of-the-year candidate RJ Barrett as he tries to establish himself as the face of an ever-struggling Knicks franchise. Our partner StubHub wants you to have a chance to see this contest in-person and as of right now there are a ton of great seats available. If you’ve been on the fence about seeing the Mavericks live this year, this is a great chance to make the leap.
The Mavericks, currently 4-2 as of this writing (ahead of the Magic game Wednesday night, as we wanted to give y’all a chance to get tickets) hope to win and start their first true winning streak since December of 2018. The Knicks come to Dallas having won just one game this season.
Here are three important story lines heading into the game:
Which Kristaps Porzingis will step onto to the floor Friday night?
Through the early part of the 2019-20 season, Kristaps Porzingis’ stats look fantastic. Coming off of a 20 month hiatus following an ACL tear, it seems unreasonable to ask more of a player posting 20 points, 8 rebounds, and just under 3 blocks a game.
But something has yet to click for Porzingis while in a Dallas uniform. He’s certainly not playing poorly, but his usage within the Dallas offensive system leaves a lot of room for improvement. The Mavericks have tried to get him going in a variety of ways this season, but he’s yet to have a game where the whole package comes together. Of course, he has moments where his skill set and size result in a truly jaw dropping move, but when compared to his running-mate in Luka Doncic, he’s yet to have a stand out performance.
The Knicks have a wide variety of power forwards to try against Porzingis. Hopefully, passion which should come from playing a team he left on poor terms can be funneled into his first marquis performance.
Keeping New York off the glass
The Knicks lead the NBA in offensive rebounding by a full board per game, boosted by a collective effort between Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Bobby Portis, and RJ Barrett. Randle in particular always plays the Mavericks well; in 15 games to date he averages 19 points, 11 rebounds (2.1 of them offensive), and just under 4 assists.
Dallas has been an early season surprise on the boards, led in part by Luka Doncic, but also with surprising improvements by both Porzingis and Maxi Kleber. Keeping the Knicks off the glass is a clear path to limiting their effectiveness on offense. Though New York has a hodgepodge roster with multiple traditional power forwards, this gives them multiple big bodies to throw against an even larger Mavericks team.
RJ Barrett’s Michael Finley impersonation
Though the early part of the season, Knicks rookie RJ Barrett leads his team in minutes with 37.1 per game. This also firmly places him in the top 5 in the league in both per game minutes and minutes played. Compared to previous NBA eras, the minutes totals for all players are low. After all, Michael Finley averaged 39.7 minutes per game during his nine seasons with the Mavericks.
Still, it’s a choice to see the Knicks run what they see as a franchise cornerstone so ragged. His early season returns are marginal to a degree, posting averages of 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and just as many turnovers per game. Yet he plays really hard and it’s always fun to watch a guy give as much effort as Barrett.
How to watch
Our friends at StubHub can show you just how many great deals are available days and even hours before the game.
If you can’t go see the game live, then the game is on Fox Sports Southwest or NBA League Pass at 7:30 p.m. CT.
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