Recap: Knicks 104, Mavericks 94

<br /> 	Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony leans over Mavericks players to go in for a basket.<br />

The New York Knicks improved to 4-0 after beating the Dallas Mavericks by 10, 104-94. It is the first time the Knicks have started 4-0 since the ’93-’94 season. Carmelo Anthony led the way with 31 points and JR Smith added 22 points off the bench. It was a big win, as the Knicks will now head into a tough road trip that will take them through Orlando, San Antonio and Memphis in four nights.

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First Quarter:

The Knicks continued their solid play and led 25-23 after the 1st. It all started with the defense, as the Knicks held the Mavs to 36% shooting and forced five turnovers. Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith, in particular, were very active on defense, as they have been throughout the season. Anthony led the Knicks on the offensive end with 10 points. Raymond Felton continued his trend of starting games fast, and not finishing them so fast… Felton had five assists in the quarter, including two picture perfect pick-and-rolls with Tyson Chandler and a beautiful alley-oop to Melo. Rasheed Wallace made a surprise entry as the first big man off the bench.

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Second Quarter:

The Mavs opened up the quarter on an 8-0 behind OJ Mayo’s hot shooting, to go up 31-23. Steve Novak struggled for the Knicks during the beginning of the quarter, as he missed all four of his shots and had a turnover. The Knicks got a break when Mayo picked up his third foul, but instead let Vince Carter turn back the clock on them. Carmelo Anthony played great in the second, scoring nine points, until Dahntay Jones forced Melo to pick up his third foul. Ronnie Brewer scored seven in the quarter and hit yet another three pointer, as he continued to surprise us from long distance. The Knicks allowed Dallas to shoot 46% from behind the arc in the first half, so they were fortunate to only be down 57-55 after JR Smith nailed a tough three to close out the half.

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Third Quarter:

Jason Kidd and JR Smith starred in the third, as the Knicks outscored Dallas 29-21 to go up 84-78 in the game. Kidd was outstanding on defense, as he had two steals and drew a charge in the quarter. Smith took over the scoring for the Knicks once Carmelo Anthony picked up his fourth foul with 7:30 left in the quarter. Luckily, OJ Mayo picked up his fourth (a charge drawn by Kidd!) right after, so that evened it out. Smith scored nine in the quarter, including seven of them in about two minutes in the middle of the quarter. The Knicks stepped up on defense, as they held the Mavs to only 38% shooting in the quarter, and they only made one three after making eight in the first half.

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Fourth Quarter:

The Knicks put the exclamation mark on the victory with Tyson Chandler’s monstrous put-back slam with 6:11 remaining in the game that put the Knicks up by eight. Chandler took all the energy out of the Mavs on that play, as he had an extra exuberant celebration for his former team. The Knicks were very sloppy down the stretch, as they took poor shots and missed a bunch of free throws. Felton missed four free throws down the stretch and the Knicks only made 6-13 free throws in the quarter. This could have allowed Dallas to get back in the game, but the Knicks absolutely locked down on defense in the fourth. They held Dallas to 33% from the field and 16 points in the quarter.

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Notes:

  • The minutes Woodson played the backup big men were interesting, as Rasheed Wallace was first off the bench in the first quarter and played 18 minutes, which I thought was a little extreme. Marcus Camby played 8 minutes in his first action of the season and Kurt Thomas did not play. Camby’s minutes should go up as he gets healthier, although it seems Woodson really has an affinity for Wallace.
  • Where Camby will help is on the boards, as the Knicks got out rebounded 50-43 tonight, which has been the only Achilles heel so far for the Knicks this season. They have now gotten out rebounded in every game this season except for opening night when they were tied with the Heat.
  • Speaking of rebounding, Carmelo Anthony had seven, as he continued his outstanding effort on the defensive end. He also had two of his amazing swipe blocks. He scored an efficient 31 points, excelled in the post again and made rookie Jae Crowder look helpless at times. Melo drove to the hole with abandon and looks so much quicker this season.
  • Raymond Felton continued his trend of having amazing first quarters and struggling some the rest of the game. Felton had five first quarter assists and ran the pick-and-roll beautifully with Tyson Chandler. However, Felton missed four free throws in the fourth and struggled to finish, as he only shot 3-for-13 from the field. Felton’s stamina hopefully will pickup as the season goes along, and until then, Woodson’s point guard rotations will be interesting.
  • Chandler was a monster in the foruth quarter. It was not only his huge put back slam, but it was his swarming defense. He was absolutely everywhere, helping on everybody. He showed Dallas why they shouldn’t have gotten rid of him.
  • JR Smith stepped up when the Knicks needed him the most. After Anthony picked up his fourth foul only about five minutes into the third, Smith took over the scoring for him, as he scored nine points in the third, and the Knicks extended their lead with Anthony on the bench. Smith then got a little over aggressive in the fourth as he committed some bad fouls. However, as long as he continues to play as hard on defense as he has, I can live with those errors.
  • Jason Kidd was splendid again. He scored six points, had three assists and three steals in only 15 minutes. It was interesting though that Smith and Ronnie Brewer got the minutes down the stretch instead of Kidd.
  • The Knicks really turned up their defense in the second half. They allowed only one three-pointer after allowing seven in the first half and held Dallas to only 37 points after allowing 57 in the first half. Dallas shot a minuscule 36% in the second half.
  • The Knicks won a game, while only going 8-for-23 from three-point range. That is a good sign.
  • The Knicks are now 4-0 and the teams the Knicks have beaten are a combined 12-1 against the rest of the NBA.

The Knicks will return to action on Tuesday night, when they will face off against the Orlando Magic down in Florida.