Preview: Mavs try to ruin Kidd's return to Big D
Earl K. Sneed previews the second game of the Dallas Mavericks' three-game homestand, as ex-Mav Jason Kidd makes his return to Big D with an 8-1 New York Knicks team.
Preview: Knicks (8-1) at Mavericks (6-6)
Mavs try to ruin Kidd's return to Big D
DALLAS — In consecutive offseasons, the Dallas Mavericks lost two leaders from their 2010-11 championship squad. Both return to Dallas on Wednesday, as point guard Jason Kidd and center Tyson Chandler enter the American Airlines Center as visitors with the New York Knicks.
The future Hall of Fame floor general and reigning Defensive Player of the Year were instrumental in handing the Dallas team a 104-94 defeat in its lone visit to the Big Apple on Nov. 9. But, back on their home floor, the Mavericks (6-6) hope to get even while bouncing back from a 105-101 overtime loss to Golden State on Monday night for a bitter beginning to their three-game homestand.
To do so, however, the Dallas defense will have to contain perennial All-Star Carmelo Anthony, after his 31 points on 10-of-22 shooting lifted the Knicks to the win over the Mavericks earlier in the month. He also leads the Knicks team to Dallas after a 29-point, six-rebound effort in Tuesday night's 102-80 win in New Orleans in the first game of a back-to-back.
More importantly, the Mavs will try to ruin Kidd’s return to Big D after he spurned his former team to sign with the Knicks this summer in free agency.
“Right now, it’s clear to me that he’s having a big influence on their concentration and their focus,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of Kidd’s addition to the 8-1 Knicks. “Carmelo Anthony is playing at a higher level than I’ve ever seen and he’s been great other years. And so, Jason Kidd always finds a way. You want to play a game of horseshoes? He’ll find a way to beat you. Seriously, that’s what it comes down to is him, so that heightens the challenge for us. And we did some good things in our first game, but we didn’t finish and didn’t play well enough in the second half and we’re looking to turn that around.”
He added: “Of course we wanted [Kidd] to retire a Maverick and we wanted him to be here, but he chose to go to New York … and got nothing but good wishes from me. At that point we had to adjust and we did, and I like the guys that we got. Right now, we’re obviously working to get healthy and our team is still developing.”
The development of the new-look Mavs continues to be a work in progress with 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki’s announcement Tuesday that he is still at least two weeks away from returning to basketball-related activities after arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 19. And despite 18 of his team-high 27 points on 11-of-21 from the field and 3-of-6 from 3 by 2-guard O.J. Mayo, in addition to 18 points and 17 rebounds from center Chris Kaman, the Mavericks admittedly lacked an identity down the stretch of Monday night’s loss without No. 41 on the court.
That will need to change if the Mavs are going to add just a second blemish to New York’s impressive start to the season.
“Totally disappointed,” Mayo said after Monday night’s defeat. “It’s a game we should have, but hats off to them. They played well. They outhustled us in almost every aspect of the game, then made plays down at the end. … Now we’ve got New York coming in. We’ll probably watch a little bit of film on some of our mistakes that we made and we’ve gotta prepare for New York.”
“Dirk will get there and we know he’ll be back at some point, but nobody knows exactly when that’s gonna be,” added Carlisle. “And so, for now, we’ve gotta press forward with the guys that we have and we have to take up the slack in some of these areas where we’re having some slippage and where we’re losing ground.”
Note: The Mavs will continue their three-game homestand Wednesday night, welcoming in the New York Knicks. The Knicks handed the Mavericks a 104-94 loss in New York on Nov. 9. The game will air locally at 7:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.