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.
Dallas responded and easily got a double digit lead again. It looked like the Mavericks were just toying with the Knicks all night, as even when New York made it a close game, the atmosphere just never felt like it was actually a close game. It felt like the Mavericks just turned it on whenever they wanted, keeping New York a bay.
Early in the fourth quarter, J.J. Barea put the nail in the coffin, hitting back to back threes to go up 89-75 with 9:17 left in the game. New York threw up the white flag at this moment, and the deficit would grow to as much as 25 points in the fourth quarter, drawing jeers from those who stayed to watch the 107-87 blowout. J.J. Barea had his way in the final period, knifing his way into the paint, setting up teammates for five assist in the quarter.
Dallas shared the ball extremely well, collecting 30 assist on 42 made field goals. Every active player on Dallas’ roster scored in the game, with no player scoring over 20 points. Five players scored in double figures, with Dirk Nowitzki leading the way with 16 points.
New York played right into Dallas’ hand, allowing wide open threes throughout the game. Which is nothing new since New York allows the fifth most threes in the league by their opponents, as well as allowing the fifth highest percentage in the league at 37.8%. While the Mavericks currently stand as the fifth best three-point shooting team in the league, making 9.4 threes a game. Dallas made 15 threes on 45.5% shooting Tuesday night.
Tyson Chandler made a triumphant return, whom has won a NBA Defensive Player of the Year his first year with the New York Knicks. Chandler received a warm reception from the crowd, with some boos mixed in. Chandler finished the game with 8 points and 14 rebounds, scoring on all slam dunks, three of which were alley-oops.