clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Game Preview: New York Knicks at Dallas Mavericks, January 11, 2024

No Luka? No problem! Jalen Brunson and the Knicks look to settle the score against Kyrie Irving and the Mavericks.

Dallas Mavericks v New York Knicks Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Knicks (22-15) have won five straight and sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks (22-16) have won six of their last ten games, have the league’s tenth-best offense, and the 16th-best defense. When the two teams meet tonight in Texas, the Mavs are sure to fire off an array of long balls–they attempt about 41 three-pointers per game, the second-most in the league, and make about 37% of them. And they are the best at protecting the ball, committing the NBA’s fewest turnovers. A winning strategy seems to be for the Knicks to exploit their advantages in the paint and on the glass, and try to smuggle OG Anunoby under Kyrie’s jersey.

Kyrie Irving, thrice named to the All-NBA team, is almost at his career-best for three-point shooting, making 41% of 6.6 attempts per game, and his assist-to-turnover ratio is excellent, as usual, 5:1.5. I struggle to say nice things. . . . Let’s root for Jalen Brunson to put 40 points on his head. This will be the point guard’s second clash with his former team; in the previous game, back in December of 2022, he scored 13 points in 27 minutes. He’s due to light ‘em up.

Down in the Lone Star State, the 24-year-old Luka Dončić is averaging career highs for points (33.6), assists (9.1), steals (1.4), blocks (0.6), three-point percentage (38%), effective field goal percentage (57%), three-point attempts (10.4), field goal attempts (23.5), and minutes (36.8) per game. This season, he has scored more points than any player this season, 1142, sits second in the NBA for per-game points and assists, and has six triple-doubles already. What else do you need to know?

The big news for tonight’s game is that Luka has been ruled out with a sprained ankle. Look for OAKAAKUYOAK Tim Hardaway, Jr. to fill in for him.

The last time the Knicks were in Dallas, Luka led a comeback with under a minute left in regulation and tied the game by intentionally bricking a free throw and swishing the rebound. Dallas beat the short-handed Knicks in overtime. It still stings.

Dallas selected Josh Green in 2020 with the 18th pick. The small forward filled in for Dante Exum in the Mavs’ last game (a win versus Memphis) and likely will again. Green has averaged 6.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 24.7 minutes per game. According to reports, Exum has been a real find for Dallas this year, so it’s a bummer not to see him in action tonight.

Forward Derrick Jones, Jr. (6’5”, 210 lb) won the Slam Dunk contest back in 2020. He’s averaging career-highs of 10.3 points, 4.1 attempted three-pointers, and 25.7 minutes per game. A versatile player, he has better employed his seven-foot wingspan this season, blocking almost one shot per game. He averages fewer than four rebounds, however, and probably looks like a platter of prime rib to the blazing-hot Julius Randle. Hailing from Dallas, Julius usually puts on a show for his home audience.

In this, his tenth season, center Dwight Powell has averaged 4.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 35 games. Powell is reportedly a good passer and is a sizable roadblock in the lane, standing 6’10”, 240 lbs. This will be Isaiah Hartenstein’s first start against the big Mav. With the way Hartenstein’s been playing, Isaiah should have one arm tied behind him to make it fair.

Prediction: had this contest pegged as dead heat, giving the Mavs a hair of an edge at 50.2%. Then the Luka injury was announced, and now the Knicks are favored at 65%

Dallas is a bottom-third rebounding team, and they surrender nearly the league’s most, so expect the Knicks’ frontcourt to gobble up those boards like hungry hungry hippos. New York is playing outstanding basketball since acquiring OG Anunoby–arguably the best basketball of Tom Thibodeau’s tenure with the team. In their last five games, New York has logged a 100 defensive rating, best of the league. They haven’t just won their past five games, they have emphatically won. Tonight will continue this glorious theme when they win by ten.

Game Details

Who: New York Knicks at Dallas Mavericks
When: 8:30 pm EST, Thursday, January 11, 2024
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
Watch: MSG
Follow: @ptknicksblog