NEW YORK -- How it happened: The former Dallas Mavericks player that this day was supposed to be all about, Tyson Chandler, had another typically solid game with 14 points and 10 rebounds. But it was two players that all but had a cup of coffee with the Mavs that inflicted enough damage to send them to their first loss since Feb. 4
Steve Novak, who lasted half a season with Dallas last year, hit four consecutive 3-pointers to start the fourth quarter as part of an 18-6 run that put the Knicks up 90-81, a lead they would not relinquish despite the Mavs' best effort to claw back. Jeremy Lin hit the final 3 in the sequence, exchanging a few dribbles from hand to hand in front of Dirk Nowitzki before popping the 3 and popping the lid off off Madison Square Garden.
Lin was, well, Linsational and at times it was pure Linsanity. He had 12 points and six assists in an impressive first half and he was even better in the second half -- despite a rash of turnovers -- driving and shooting for a total of 28 points, 14 assists and four rebounds. Jason Terry, back after missing two games, said before the game that all the attention surrounding Lin was just a lot of hype.
Lin's final assist, a lob out to sprinting J.R. Smith for a layup, gave New York a 102-97 lead with 28.5 seconds to play. The play started off a long rebound after a Terry 3 from the right wing for the tie banged off the back iron.
On the next possession, Nowitzki thought he got fouled in the corner by two Knicks, but nothing was called and he and the Mavs stood watching as Chandler threw down the final bucket of the game.
When the buzzer sounded, 18-year Mavs vet Jason Kidd, who had eight points and four assists, was the first to hug Lin near midcourt.
Nowitzki finished with a game-high 34 points on 11-of-20 shooting, but he was just 2-of-6 from the floor in the fourth quarter.
The Knicks trailed 18-13 early and then piled on a 17-0 run and led 32-20 after the first quarter. The Mavs built a 12-point lead, 70-58, with a dominant opening to the third quarter, one in which Nowitzki scored 13 points. But, once he sat down late in the period, the Knicks took off and closed to within 75-72 at the end of it.
What it means: The Mavs ended two streaks: Their season-high win streak is over at six as Dallas drops to 20-12, and the streak of holding opponents to fewer than 100 points also ends at 10. After losing Friday night to the New Orleans Hornets to snap a seven-game win streak, the Knicks have won eight of nine with Lin in the lineup.
Play of the game: With 8:35 left in the game, Novak buried his third of four consecutive 3-pointers, this one from the corner in front of Terry. Novak pumped his fist down the floor as the Knicks reclaimed the lead 81-80.
Stat of the day: With all the talk about Lin and his turnovers -- and he did have seven -- it was Kidd who finished with more turnovers (five) than assists (four). However, Kidd's three steals moved him into a tie for second place all-time in the NBA with Michael Jordan.