The New York Knicks trailed the Dallas Mavericks at half time, 56-52, but a 26-6 run by the Mavericks, led by Dirk Nowitzki with 8 points and Jose Barea with 7 points to begin the third quarter essentially ended this one, as the Mavericks led 82-58 with 4:27 left in the game. The Knicks immediately went on a 13-0 run to cut the lead to 82-71 with 1:14 left in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late.
When I asked Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle what he did differently to start the third quarter, he replied “We changed things up lineup wise. We had Barea in there and he made some great things happen for us offensively and that energized our defense and we were able to get on a run. Once we were able to string together some stops, we were able to build a lead. In the first half, our defense was pretty good but we really couldn’t get any traction defensively and that had to change.” When specifically asked what was done defensively on Amar’e Stoudemire, who went scoreless in the second half, Coach Carlisle replied “Tyson (Chandler) adjusted to some of the things he was doing.” Tyson Chandler agreed with his coach, and said he came out more aggessive in the second half. “I gave him way too many open looks in the first half.”
The Knicks were led by Danilo Gallinari, who scored 27 points on 7-14 from the field and 12-12 from the free throw line, while also grabbing 6 rebounds and collecting 2 steals. Toney Douglas came off the bench with 22 points and 3 steals, while Amar’e Stoudemire scored 21 points, all in the first half, and pulled down 5 rebounds while dishing out 4 assists. Raymond Felton had 11 points and 9 assists.
When asked what changed in the second half, Stoudemire felt it was all on his shoulders. “It wasn’t really anything they did. It just was not a great rhythm out there in the second half, in the third quarter in particular. I think collectively in the second half, we just didn’t come out with good energy.” Gallinari, while disappointed in the team loss, was pleased with his personal performance. “I was just trying to be aggressive and take everything the defense was giving me.”
The Mavericks were led by Nowitzki with 29 points and 11 rebounds, and Chandler with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Jason Kidd added 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 10 assists, and DeShawn Stevenson had 13 points and 5 rebounds. Jason Terry had 12 points and 4 rebounds off the bench, but the second-leading scorer of the night for the Mavericks was Barea, with 22 points, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds.
“He’s so gifted offensively and defensively. He really changes the game” Kidd said of Barea after the game. “His production has been a key to our success” Jason Terry said after the game. Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni acknowledged how Barea changed the game. “We were playing well and we let Barea get lose for a couple three’s and cut the lead to zero, and from then, Dirk’s Dirk. He’s going to do that. He’s a tough one to handle.”
A sellout crowd of 19,763 watched the Knicks Wednesday, including Chris Rock, Spike Lee, Justin Bieber (who was booed by the majority of the crowd), Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, and Jessica White.
The Knicks play the Sixers Friday in Philadelphia, then again Sunday at the Garden.