KNICKS 104 MAVERICKS 97| MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
The Knicks owned the first quarter, the Mavericks owned the second and the third, but New York closed when it counted down the stretch on Sunday afternoon. In a thrilling 104-97 victory at Madison Square Garden, Jeremy Lin scored a team-high 28 points and dished out 14 assists to snap the Mavericks six-game winning streak.
With Dallas holding a 75-72 lead after taking control out of the locker room, Steve Novak jumped off the bench to ignite the New York offense. Novak scored all 14 of his points in the final stanza, which featured a remarkable 4-for-4 stretch from downtown. Following a long bomb from Novak at the 7:14 mark, Lin put Dirk Nowitzki to sleep and connected on a three-pointer of his own to extend the Knicks lead to 90-81. The 15-6 run provided a nice cushion for the hometown team and eventually sunk the defending champs. New York improved to 16-16 and the squad has won eight of its last nine games despite missing Carmelo Anthony in the lineup.
Dallas had a chance to close the gap, down 102-97 before Nowitzki was stripped and Lin found former Mavericks center Tyson Chandler for the dunk and poetic end to a spectacular afternoon at the Garden.
Smith was officially acquired on Friday evening but did not arrive in New York until Saturday. Head coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters he would dress Smith for the game while he was not specific on the amount of minutes the former Nuggets long range shooter would receive. With Bill Walker sidelined and Iman Shumpert hit with some early foul trouble, D’Antoni called for Smith at the 5:46 mark of the first period. Trailing 15-13, Smith drilled his first attempt from the three-point line and would propel New York to a 17-4 run and 32-22 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Smith showed no signs of fatigue, considering he was playing ball in China due to the lockout. Fitting perfectly in D’Antoni’s system, Smith finished with 15 points off the pine.
“Obviously you can’t win championships without being a good defensive team. We came out, we moved the ball and we had a lot of people contribute. Across the board the efficiency was there from everybody.” -- Jeremy Lin
Novak scored 14 of New York’s first 15 points of the fourth quarter.
Lin is performing at an elite level with expectations and more importantly against top notch competition. Facing Shawn Marion, one of the best defenders in the league on Sunday afternoon, Lin remained poised and dished out 14 assists. In clutch moments, the Knicks point guard hit big shots as part of an efficient day (11-for-20 from the floor) at the office. Lin worked hard on the defensive end of the court as well, snatching five steals in his seventh victory as a starter.
News and Notes:
Baron Davis suited up for the game and could see time soon. D’Antoni told the media that he expects Carmelo Anthony to play tomorrow night against the Nets at Madison Square Garden. Anthony has been suffering from a strained groin.
The Knicks square off against New Jersey on Monday night at 7:30 PM. New Jersey will complete a back-to-back set after facing Milwaukee on Sunday night.