7:00 PM ET | American Airlines Center
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM
1. On Friday evening in Miami, the Knicks and Heat needed an extra session to decide the outcome. Unfortunately for New York, Miami evened the season series at one apiece in the 107-103 victory in overtime. The Knicks bench fueled a furious spurt to start the fourth quarter of action as it put together a 9-0 run and created a five-point lead. The Heat answered and managed to generate a three-point advantage following two free throws from Josh Richardson. With 13.2 seconds remaining in the contest, New York’s Courtney Lee attempted a 3-pointer that fell short but Kristaps Porzingis corralled the loose ball and quickly dished a pass to Doug McDermott in the corner. McDermott knocked down the long ball and the game shifted to the overtime period. Miami outscored New York 10-6 in overtime and captured the win while improving to 21-17 on the season. The Knicks fell to 18-21 overall in the second of the three-game road trip.
2. Michael Beasley suffered an ankle injury early in overtime on Friday night. The prolific scorer did return to action but he was sidelined at yesterday’s practice session in Dallas. The team is listing Beasley as questionable for tonight’s contest against the Mavericks. Over his last five games, Beasley is averaging 19.2 points on 58.5 percent shooting to go along with nine rebounds in just 25.4 minutes per outing off the bench.
3. Some good news for New York was the sight of Tim Hardaway Jr. on the practice floor on Saturday afternoon. The shooting guard has missed 18 games due to a stress injury to his lower leg. Yesterday, Hardaway Jr. participated in part of the contact drills and will be re-evaluated next week.
4. This past summer, the Mavericks looked to add young talent to work with the existing roster, featuring the 39-year old Dirk Nowitzki. Dallas drafted an explosive point guard in Dennis Smith Jr. and the ninth overall pick is averaging 13.9 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game thus far. Meanwhile, the Mavericks are 13-27 this season and enter tonight’s game on a two-game losing skid following four straight wins. The four victories were impressive, considering Dallas defeated Toronto, Indiana, New Orleans, and Oklahoma City. There are a couple of areas where the Mavericks excel when examining their rankings this year. Dallas is in the top five in 3-point attempts and makes while also hitting 37.2 percent from the arc (No. 9 in NBA). Despite featuring a rookie point guard in the backcourt, the Mavericks are the top team in limiting turnovers at 13 miscues per game.
5. Tonight’s game will feature a matchup of past and present. As Nowitzki’s legendary career comes to a close, Kristaps Porzingis is seeking to achieve similar results and status. The third-year power forward has expressed his admiration for Nowitzki and how he patterned parts of his game to emulate the future Hall-of-Famer. On the other side, Nowitzki has praised Porzingis for his early development and skills on both sides of the floor. These two seven-footers have squared off twice in their careers and the battles have been quite entertaining. Both players are averaging 20-plus points per game, hitting above 56 percent from the floor and 33 percent from downtown.