New York Knicks 70th Anniversary

5 Things To Know: Knicks Return to MSG in Matchup Against Mavs

by Jonah Ballow
NYKnicks.com
@jonahballow

7:30 PM EST | Madison Square Garden
TV:  MSG Network
Radio: ESPN NY 98.7 FM

5 Things To Know:

1.  The Knicks started strong in Toronto by taking a 56-53 lead to the locker room at halftime on Saturday night.  The Raptors registered 30-plus points in the third and fourth quarters to effectively reverse the momentum and top the road team 118-107.  Derrick Rose felt the team is getting closer to finding the wining formula and Kristaps Porzingis said the Knicks are growing together despite the recent defeats. 

2.  On Saturday night, Carmelo Anthony unleashed a 20-point first half while shooting 7-of-13 from the floor and hitting 2-of-3 behind the arc.  Anthony finished with a team-high 31 points, six rebounds, and four assists.  Another positive sign for the Knicks was the play of Rose, considering he shot 50 percent and scored 21 points in 38 minutes of court time.  Fans may have noticed Rose favoring his shoulder during the contest but the point guard said he was fine following the game and it’s most likely just a stinger.  One other news item to note from Saturday is Lance Thomas’s sore ankle.  The Knicks forward left the game in Toronto and did not return.  Head coach Jeff Hornacek ruled Thomas out for tonight's game at MSG.

3.  When the dust settled after the Western Conference shake-up this summer, the Dallas Mavericks looked a little different than a season ago.  Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Warriors forced the 2015-16 champs to let Harrison Barnes move to Dallas in free agency.  The Mavericks also acquired former Golden State big man Andrew Bogut to provide a spark in the lineup on both sides of the court.  While Rick Carlisle is regarded as one of the best coaches in the business, Dallas has not made it out of the first round of the postseason since wining the title in 2011.

4.  The face of the Mavericks franchise is Dirk Nowitzki.  Retirement might be around the corner but the 38-year old hoped to continue his consistent production in 2016-17 and lift his team back into the playoffs.  However, the sharp-shooting German suffered an Achilles strain in Dallas’ opener and had to shut it down on November 4 against the Blazers.  Carlisle told the media on Monday morning that Nowitzki is a gametime decision.

5.  The Mavericks captured two straight wins over the Bucks and Lakers before a 21-point defeat to the Warriors last Wednesday night.  It’s rare a team receives four days off from game action and Dallas will look to improve on its 2-6 start to the season with the recovery time entering Monday’s tilt against the Knicks.  The Mavericks are struggling to put points on the board as they’ve only reached the century mark twice this season.  When examining the league rankings, Dallas is 26th in points per game and 21st in offensive rating.  As seen in several of the previous opponents for New York, the Mavericks launch the long ball at a rapid rate, ranking fourth in the league in 3-point attempts.