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Rapid Reaction: Knicks 92, Mavericks 80

1/5/2014

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks’ 92-80 loss to the New York Knicks should be part of the conversation about Dallas’ most dreadful performances of the season.

How it happened: An unintentionally humorous moment in the first half pretty much summed up the night for the Mavs.

An angry, frustrated Dirk Nowitzki attempted to fire up his teammates after a foul call with Dallas trailing by double digits. He stomped around and screamed at his teammates. Most of Nowitzki’s rant was difficult to understand until he pulled out his mouthpiece and hollered, “What the f--- are we doing, man?”

The high-pitched response from a woman sitting in some expensive seats? “That’s what I want to know!”

A loss like this to a Knicks team that’s probably lottery-bound is simply inexcusable. It isn’t, however, hard to explain: The Mavs came out flat and didn’t play with enough energy until it was too late to overcome New York’s large lead.

Despite center Tyson Chandler playing only four minutes due to an upper-respiratory infection, the Knicks seized the lead midway through the first quarter and never let the Mavs take it back. New York led 29-17 after the first quarter, when Carmelo Anthony scored 15 of his game-high 19 points.

The Mavs couldn’t get any kind of consistent offense going all game. Nowitzki led five Dallas players in double figures with 18 points, but the Mavs shot only 41 percent from the floor and didn’t score more than 23 points in any quarter.

The first half was especially ugly for the Mavs’ offense. Dallas had only 35 points on 36.1 percent shooting at halftime.

What it means: The Mavs suddenly can’t win at the American Airlines Center. They’ve lost their past four home games after starting 11-2 at the AAC. This loss dropped the Mavs, who are still in eighth place in the Western Conference, to 19-15 overall. The Knicks improved to 11-22.

Play of the game: Knicks defensive stopper Iman Shumpert had only three buckets, but the second was a pretty reverse layup that was a backbreaker for the Mavs. After Dallas trimmed the deficit to six points, Shumpert blew by Monta Ellis on the right baseline and swooped to the other side of the hoop, kissing the ball off the glass and in despite being challenged by Brandan Wright with 1:37 remaining. Shumpert’s final hoop, a 3-pointer with 1:13 remaining, was the dagger.

Stat of the night: Two nights after setting a season high with 70 points in the first half, the Mavs scored only half of that total in the first half against the Knicks. The 35 points were the Mavs’ fewest in a first half and just one point more than their lowest-scoring half of the season.