Wednesday, November 21, 2012
W2W4: Knicks at Mavs
By Ian Begley
On Wednesday in Dallas, the Knicks will attempt to start the season 9-1 for just the fourth time in franchise history. The last two times they did it, the Knicks ended the season as NBA champs ('69-'70 & '72-'73).
A win over the Mavericks certainly doesn't guarantee an NBA title, but it would give the Knicks a season sweep of the Mavs for the first time since the 1999-2000 season, which just happens to be the last year they won a playoff series.
Here are a few things to watch during the game:
WILL MELO REMAIN HOT? Carmelo Anthony's coming off a tremendous game in the Knicks' win over New Orleans on Tuesday. Melo had 29 points in 28 minutes and added six rebounds and four assists.
It was only the second game of Anthony's NBA career in which he scored 29 or more points while totaling fewer than 29 minutes of playing time (he last did it on 12/22/07).
Melo is the fifth Knick since 1960 to average at least 24 points and seven rebounds in the team's first nine games.
And, based on recent history, that could continue against Dallas.
Anthony had a season-high 31 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in the Knicks' win over the Mavs at the Garden earlier this month. Dallas is still without Dirk Nowitzki, but Shawn Marion is back for the Mavs, who have lost five of seven, including the Nov. 9 defeat at New York.
BOOS FOR KIDD? It will be interesting to see what kind of reaction Jason Kidd gets on Wednesday in Dallas. Mavs owner Marc Cuban was upset that Kidd backed out of re-signing with Dallas at the last minute, instead choosing to sign a similar contract with the Knicks in the offeseaon.
Cuban said earlier this month that he'd boo Kidd at Madison Square Garden. He's likely to be joined by the rest of the Mavericks faithful in booing Kidd on Wednesday in Dallas.
Kidd, 39, has been an instrumental piece in the Knicks' 8-1 start. He has been a calming influence on offense and one of the biggest reasons that the Knicks average the fewest turnovers per game (10.3) and lead the league in assist to turnover rate (1.87). Kidd will take the court Wednesday averaging just 0.7 turnovers in 25 minutes per game. His assist to turnover ratio is a mind-boggling 4.67, the second best in the NBA behind Chris Paul.
BOARD GAME? Both the Knicks and Mavs are poor rebounding teams. New York ranks 22nd in rebounding rate (a measure of missed shots that a team rebounds). Dallas ranks 26th. The Knicks showed some life on the glass on Tuesday against a Hornets team without Anthony Davis. Mike Woodson's club outrebounded New Orleans, 49-36, including a 13-5 edge on the offensive glass.
Winning the battle of the boards Wednesday would also limit the Mavs' possessions, thus keeping the ball out of O.J. Mayo's hands. Mayo torched the Knicks for five 3-pointers in the first half of their Nov. 9 game and is coming off of a 27-point game against Golden State.