The Dallas Mavericks were no match for Frank Ntilikina and the Knicks, as New York picked up a hard-fought win on the road.
In Dallas, the New York Knicks defeated the Dallas Mavericks by a final score of 106 to 102. Luka Doncic finished with 38 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists for the Mavericks, while Marcus Morris finished with 29 points, nine rebounds and three assists for the Knicks. With the loss, the Knicks move to 2-7 on the season.
Amid the emotions surrounding the first game against former Knick and current Maverick Kristaps Porzingis, the game turned out to be fun. The Knicks caught fire from three early, thanks to Bobby Portis leading the way. Portis finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.
The Mavericks didn’t back down, though. It was an odd look for the Mavericks: way too much Tim Hardaway Jr.—14 points, 5-of-15 from the field, and several bad misses—and Dwight Powell over the likes of Maxi Kleber, Delon Wright, and Seth Curry, all better options.
Still, the Mavericks came back with Luka Doncic, who tortured New York with an array of post moves and stepback threes. Porzingis did the usual—knocking down some impressive threes, while taking aggressive New York defenders off the dribble for a fancy finish at the rim.
In the end, it was the trio of Marcus Morris, Julius Randle, and Frank Ntilikina who shined. We’ll talk about Ntilikina in-depth in the notes, but Morris and Randle combined for 50 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists in the tough victory. Randle had up and down moments, but ultimately finished well at the rim and had some impressive passing looks.
Morris carried the Knicks offense at stretches. At times, Morris was the only real offensive threat, getting good looks from beyond the arc and at the rim. Even though he made just two of his eight three-point attempts, Morris’ ability to beat players off the dribble made him a threat throughout the night.
All in all, a strong victory for a Knicks team who needed one. Let’s get to the notes.
- Frank Ntilikina had an excellent game. Everything was on point—14 points, six rebounds, four assists, four steals, three blocks, and four made threes. He was instrumental in defending the perimeter, forcing Porizingis off the post, and forcing several big turnovers. Ntilikina’s offense was just as good as his defense: getting to the basket, taking Doncic off the dribble, and excellent playmaking. You truly love to see it.
Not to be dramatic, but Frank Ntilikina may have just had the greatest defensive possession in the history of basketball pic.twitter.com/GbAqcV4ro8— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) November 9, 2019
- Taj Gibson should remain in the rotation for as long as Mitchell Robinson is out. His 12 points and eight rebounds fail to do justice to how good Gibson was tonight. Between his mid-range shooting offering a pinch more spacing for his fellow big man and his defense in the post, his veteran presence after three straight defensive breakdowns in the third quarter was huge.
- It was a quiet night for R.J. Barrett, but he made the most of his time on the floor. Not only was he active defensively and even chippy at times, but eight rebounds and three assists suggest that he was a bit more active than the stat-sheet suggests. Personally, I liked Barrett playing an ancillary role as Frank had a big night.
The Knicks now return home to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, October 10th. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.