Knicks below .500 after blowing double-digit lead over Mavericks

Knicks below .500 after blowing double-digit lead over Mavericks

A small but noisy group of Knicks fans arrived at the Garden armed with derisive boos and chants to direct Kristaps Porzingis, but what they wanted most of all on Friday night was a victory over their former All-Star and his current squad.

Even with Porzingis mostly mired in a rocky shooting night, the Knicks followed Wednesday’s crushing loss to Minnesota by giving a double-digit lead for the second straight game in a 99-86 loss to the Mavericks.

“The reaction was what I expected, of course,” said Porzingis, who punctuated Dallas’ victory with a late baseline dunk. “It’s a tough team and they played a very good defense against me and against us in general. Overall it’s a tough game, a tough game, and it’s good to get a win against a tough team like the Knicks.

Porzingis heard throaty boos and “KP sucks” chants throughout the game. The 7-foot-3 forward finished with 14 points on a 6-for-17 shot from the ground.

Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, the Knicks’ top two scorers, also endured some tough games on offense, accumulating just 22 points on an 8-for-31 shot as the Knicks lost for the third straight game and are dropped below 0.500 to 24-25.

Alec Burks had a team-high 20 points for the Knicks, who shot just 36 percent from the field, including a 1-for-10 performance by Derrick Rose.

Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavericks beat the Knicks on Friday.
Getty Images

Barrett and Rose had been questionable for the game with ankle injuries, after Randle missed last Saturday’s game with a bruised thigh.

“I think at first we play together the right way and as the game goes on the shots don’t fall or whatever the case, and maybe we just try to do it a little bit. too much, ”Randle said. . “You just have to trust yourself. It’s hard. It’s a difficult balance for all of us, but we will find it.

Luka Doncic had 26 points, a game-high, and another former Knick, Tim Hardaway Jr., added 14 for the Mavericks (26-21). They were coached by assistant Jamahl Mosley after head coach Rick Carlisle revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 before the game.

Randle was signed with some of the ceiling space the Knicks cleared thanks to Porzingis, Hardaway and others’ successful trade with the Mavericks in February 2019, while Porzingis was still recovering from ACL surgery . The Knicks also control Dallas’ first-round picks in the 2021 and 2023 draft, this year set to be the 21st overall to enter Friday’s action.

Fans maintained KP-led derision throughout the first quarter, and he missed eight of his first nine shots from the field in the first half, including six straight from 3 points.

In the second quarter, Burks hit two 3s and Obi Toppin provided a spark with nine points off the bench – including a one-handed slam on an offensive rebound – as the Knicks increased their lead to 44-31 with 7:02 remaining before half-time.

But coach Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks went almost six minutes without scoring and Dallas took a 49-46 intermission advantage on 3 points in the final minute of the half by Hardaway and Doncic to cap a run of 18-2 close.

Porzingis eventually connected beyond the arc for a 55-54 Dallas lead, and his pull-up jumper minutes later extended the cushion to six en route to a 72-69 Knicks hole entering the last. period.

The Knicks then missed 11 of their first 12 shots in the fourth quarter, before Jalen Brunson and Doncic’s three straight runs helped put Dallas by 15 with just three minutes remaining.

“We have to make sure we get quality shots,” said Thibodeau. “It was a tough game up to this point. … We have to make sure that we do everything collectively. This has been the strength of the club all year and I think we will come back to it.


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