The Dallas Mavericks collected their second impressive win against a quality opponent on this current seven game homestand Thursday night, defeating the New York Knicks 128-124.
New York was riding a five game winning streak since trading for OG Anunoby, playing like the best team in basketball over the last week. That made the win all the more special, despite the Mavericks almost giving away a 20 point lead in the fourth quarter.
Kyrie Irving was special, Tim Hardaway Jr. had a big game, and just about every Maverick that saw time on the floor made one or two momentum swinging plays. It wasn’t a clean ending, but this was a good win for Dallas. Here are the stats we noticed.
44: Mavericks first quarter points
Dallas jumped on a lackadaisical New York effort to start the game, running in transition at every opportunity, turning the Knicks over, and splashing down threes. It might have been the Mavericks best quarter of the season.
The 44 points were the most points in a quarter for the Mavericks this season, and the team’s 11th 40-point quarter, tying the Kings and Pacers for most 40-point quarters in the NBA this season, according to Mavericks PR.
Dallas canned eight three pointers in the quarter, going 8-of-10 from behind the line. The Knicks started the game thinking they were going to sleep walk to an easy win with the Mavericks missing Luka Doncic, and the Mavericks punished the Knicks for it. It was fun to watch.
23: Mavericks points scored off turnovers
The Knicks turned the ball over 16 times Thursday night, not a great number, but not a shockingly high one either. Of those 16, two were team turnovers which are dead ball turnovers. Despite that, Dallas turned those 16 turnovers into 23 points.
That’s a ridiculous conversion ratio, and one of the Mavericks better marks of the season. New York played a sloppy game and Dallas never let them rest on second. The Mavericks running off every Knicks turnover led to the Mavericks impressive 25-6 advantage in fast break points. Dallas ran the ball down New York’s throat all night.
2: Kyrie Irving buckets made away from the rim
We have to shout out Kyrie Irving’s monster game, scoring a season-high and Mavericks career-high 44 points on 15-of-26 shooting, including 6-of-10 from three.
Of those 15 made buckets, only two were at the rim. Irving went classic Kyrie tonight, making five midrange buckets and splashing down threes in transition and off the bounce. It was a special performance, especially when you factor in Irving doing it without Doncic or Dante Exum to relieve him of ball handling duties.
A special kudos to Irving’s start, which for my money was the entire reason the Mavericks won the game. Irving scored the first eight points for the Mavericks, jumping Dallas to a very quick 8-2 lead and Dallas really never looked back from there. With the team being undermanned with no Doncic, Exum, or Dereck Lively, Irving’s aggressive start set the tone for the game and got his teammates juiced up to contribute. While the Knicks almost stole the game in the fourth quarter, if it weren’t for Irving’s start, the Mavericks likely would have never even had a big lead to give up in the first place.
There are a lot of possessions in a basketball game, and not always is one or two the sole reason a team wins or loses a game, but it truly felt like Irving’s dynamite start is what won the Mavericks this game.