Last we heard from our good friends the New York Knicks, Dallas caught them in a bit of a rough patch. The loss against Dallas in early April saw New York dip back below .500 in the midst of losing five out of six games. Well, wouldn’t you know it, those wacky kids just don’t know how to stay down! The Knicks come to town on Friday riding a four game winning streak and holding the 5th spot in the East.
Dallas, meanwhile, was a bit of Luka Magic away from spontaneously combusting after the Memphis game. Though, as luck would have it, Luka Doncic is on our team and so we won. With style.
Friday should be a good chance for Dallas to start really rinsing off some of the stink that accumulated during their time slumming it (aka losing) against some bad teams. It was a painful opportunity lost as, for so long, the West seemed like it would never crack. Now all of a sudden: daylight. Portland is 5-5 in their last 10 games and now just a single game ahead of Dallas in the 6th spot. The Mavs need to shake off the cobwebs and get the job done here in a way that doesn’t require what would in biblical times have been deemed a minor miracle.
Which one of you would like to make a 3?
This could nearly be a copy and paste for every game preview. It is absolutely imperative that Dallas be able to shoot effectively from three. In two losses to San Antonio and Philadelphia, Dallas managed a meager .310 and .250 from beyond the arc. In their dazzler against Memphis, it was only slightly better at .325.
Dallas is not a team that is going to win games when they are shooting poorly. They’ve made great strides on the defensive side of the ball, and even have the league’s 6th best net rating since the All Star break, but when 43.8% of your shots are from 3 (5th highest in the league), 30% ain’t gonna cut it. Over the last three games, non-Luka and Porzingis starters have shot only 27% from deep. Not good! JJ Redick has started getting some minutes and helping from the bench, but the starting lineup needs to up the fire power.
It’s physically impossible for Josh Richardson to shoot this poorly forever
After a 5-5 night from three against Utah in what was perhaps his best game as a Maverick, Josh Richardson hasn’t made five three-pointers total in the next five games combined.
This fanbase loves a punching bag. Harrison Barnes got his turn. Wesley Matthews for a year or two. Deandre Jordan briefly. Dwight Powell perennially. But oh man, there is not a lot of love to spare for Josh Richardson right now.
It’s almost not worth delving into, because shooting as badly as he has been cannot be explained by any known science. Eventually, the fever will break. Hopefully that’s sooner rather than later. I’m not going to dump on the guy. These things happen. But if they could cease happening right now, that’d be swell.
Douse the hot hand
Without question, the Knicks are led by the Duo or RJ Barret and Julius Randle. However, the pattern emerging from their current streak is that Barret and Randle do what you expect Barret and Randle to do, and then they count on a third guy getting hot.
Immanuel Quickley caught fire for 20 against Memphis, Elfrid Payton got 20 of his own in their win against the Lakers, and bonafide Mav Killer Alec Burks poured in 21 for a W against New Orleans.
New York doesn’t have a go to 3rd guy, so it’s hard to plan on who’s going to be the hot man on any given night. Dallas needs to identify and snuff it out as best they can because while they might not have the muscle to put a lid on Barrett and Randle for a whole game, Barrett and Randle alone aren’t enough to win the game for New York.
How to watch
The game starts at 8:30pm on ESPN