Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/28

Game 1: Saturday, December 28th
Game 2: Friday, January 24th

Knicks 82

(9-17, 3-8 away)

Mavericks 107


    Coverage: MSG

    7:30 PM ET, December 28, 2002

    American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    NY 20 22 15 2582
    DAL 29 26 29 23107

    Top Performers

    NY: O. Harrington 14 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast

    Dal: D. Nowitzki 19 Pts, 9 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Mavericks back to old high-scoring ways in blowout

    DALLAS (AP) -- After sloshing their way through four games, the Dallas Mavericks finally got back to their style of basketball on Saturday night.

    Steve Nash

    Steve Nash and Nick Van Exel helped the Mavericks revive their inside-outside attack, pushing Dallas to a 107-82 victory over the New York Knicks.

    The Mavs had gone four straight games without breaking 100 points. The league's highest-scoring team averaged 84 during the drought, hitting only 36.3 percent of their shots, yet still managed to win three times.

    They showed they were back to form by hitting 10 of their first 13 shots and finished at 54.2 percent shooting. Dallas never trailed, leading by at least 11 after 5:31 of the second quarter.

    "It's way more fun when our team gets up and down the court, spreads the floor and makes people pay,'' said Nash, who was 6-of-9 for 19 points in 21 minutes.

    "People tell me all the time that we're their favorite team to watch. A lot of people call it `old school.' That's when we're at our best.''

    New York, coming off a victory in Houston the night before, had its most lopsided loss of the season, topping a 23-point defeat against Boston in the opener.

    The Knicks are 0-5 on the second night of back-to-back games, a stat coach Don Chaney is taking seriously -- especially with more sets coming Jan. 5-6, 10-11, 13-14 and 17-18.

    "It appears to be fatigue,'' Chaney said. "Maybe our routine has to change. But I think it goes beyond that. Sometimes it becomes a mental factor.''

    Allan Houston fears that's the case.

    "Our mental focus and resolve is just not there,'' said Houston, who had eight points in the first quarter but finished with 15. "That second and third effort dies down. It's a mental barrier we have to get over.''

    The Mavericks couldn't have had a better start to their longest homestand of the season -- five games, four against sub-.500 foes.

    With a 27-point lead after three quarters, coach Don Nelson sent his Big Three of Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley to the bench for the entire final period. The pine time was especially nice for Nowitzki, who played all but one minute of the previous three games.

    "It's always good when we can rest those guys,'' Van Exel said.

    Nowitzki had 19 points on 9-of-18 shooting. He also had nine rebounds and matched his season-high with seven assists. Finley was 6-of-13 for 14 points in 33 minutes.

    Van Exel had 12 of his points in the first half when he took over for Nash and kept the offense humming. It was a welcome sight, considering he was 9-of-39 with a total of 23 points over his previous four games.

    A cortisone shot in his left (shooting) elbow Friday apparently did the trick as he drilled a 3-pointer on his first shot, then followed with another long jumper. He finished 6-of-14.

    The rest of the bench contributed, too. Raef LaFrentz had a season-high 15 points and Raja Bell made 5-of-6 shots for a season-high 13 in his first start.

    "Raja played big,'' Finley said. "He saw an opportunity to prove to himself, the fans and the coaching staff that he can give quality minutes. He made it tough for (Latrell) Sprewell and Houston, and he hit open shots.''

    Shawn Bradley made the most of his 14 minutes.

    He had eight rebounds, two blocks, two layups and a nice assist in the first seven minutes, then left to a big ovation after picking up his second foul.

    He returned for seven more minutes in the third quarter and had one rebound and one assist, but also forced Othella Harrington into an ugly miss and a charging foul.

    "They've been playing a lot better than their record, so we knew we had to get out quick and be aggressive and protect the ball,'' Bradley said. "That's what we did right off the bat.''

    Sprewell led New York with 16 points. Harrington had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Chaney also kept the minutes of his starters down, as none played more than 27 minutes.

    Game notes

    Nowitzki played his fourth straight game without a turnover. ... This was the seventh game this season in which Dallas has not trailed. ... The Knicks have lost five of their last six in Dallas. ... Among the sellout crowd were the LSU and Texas football teams. They meet in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 107
    FGM-FGA 31-88 (.352) 45-83 (.542)
    3PM-3PA 5-17 (.294) 4-15 (.267)
    FTM-FTA 15-17 (.882) 13-17 (.765)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-49 8-43
    Assists 23 31
    Turnovers 15 8
    Steals 6 7
    Blocks 2 6
    Fast Break Points 4 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/1) 15 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New York
    Othella Harrington Harrington
    Points: 14
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
    Points: 19
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1