Written by William Lee
Dallas came out of the gate scorching, all five starters for the Mavericks scored on by their fifth attempt of the game. Dallas scored on their first six attempts before finally missing from the field, which drew sarcastic cheers from Madison Square Garden. Dallas personified team basketball in the first quarter, collecting six assist on their first six field goals. Dallas ended the first quarter with 14 made field goals, of which ten of them were assisted on.
With the hot start from Dallas, Derek Fisher needed to take an early timeout four minutes into the game, by then the Mavericks had already gotten ahead 19-7. The lackluster play by the Knick’s starters continued, the deficit grew by as much as 19 points. This caused Fisher to make wholesale substitutions at the 5:20 mark to send a message to his players that this type of effort will not be tolerated.
Fisher after the game had this to say about the lackluster start. “The start was not the right way to start a professional basketball game. Those guys in there to start the game, was a disappointment to their teammates more than anything. Guys who start the game have to mentally and physically be ready to play, and they couldn’t put that out there, we got another five guys in there, they started playing hard and playing with some energy and got us back into the game. We were behind the eight ball from the jump.”
The message seemed to have gotten across to the team momentarily, in a blink of an eye with how fast New York was down by such a large deficit, New York rocketed back just as fast. The Knicks made a sizable comeback, going on a 21-10 run since the wholesale substitution to get within four points 36-32 with 10:20 remaining in the second quarter.