That’s the number of time the Mavericks have lost to the Knicks in the past week.
Yes, you read that correctly. Of the Knicks three victories, two have come against the Mavs.
Let’s just get right into it.
It’s inexcusable. You can’t justify it.
Despite another triple-double from Luka, 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists, the rest of the Mavericks didn’t play up to par. Kristaps Porzingis scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his return to Madison Square Garden.
Luka’s Fourth Quarter Minutes
Carlisle has been pretty consistent on Luka’s substitution patterns throughout the early season. But last night, there needed to be an exception. Luka entered the game in the fourth quarter after half the final frame was already gone. And in a close game as last night was, in such a game where a victory was in dire need, you’d think Carlisle would extend the minutes of the 20-year old superstar.
I understand not wanting to overload Luka’s minutes this early on in the season but in a game like this, he should have seen the floor two minutes earlier in the fourth to try and save this game.
KP’s Return to MSG
The boobirds were out last night and they filled Madison Square Garden all night long. Marcus Morris even said post game that it seemed evident that the crowd was affecting Porzingis early, which is likely.
Kristaps finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds on 7/17 shooting. Now, that stat line may look pretty good, but there’s some underlying issues that remain. The majority of those 20 points came on free throws and putbacks, which is fine, get your points how ever you can, but the Mavericks need more.
Helping KP find his rhythm in this Dallas offense alongside such a ball-dominate player like Luka has been difficult so far but again, it’s early. More pick-and-rolls between Luka and KP is something I’d like to see as well as not force feeding KP. Let him move throughout the offense and get his shots in favorable spots.
KP has never been a post up type of big man. He flourishes on the perimeter, being able to shoot over and shoot better than your typical big. It takes time but getting Porzingis comfortable in this offense and being able to get good shots within the flow of the offense should be at the top of the Mavs to-do list.
Rebounding and Three Pointers
Both were the Achilles heel tonight for Dallas. The Knicks out-rebounded the Mavs by nine and seemed to get every long rebound and loose ball. The ball just wasn’t bouncing the Mavericks way. And that goes for on their shooting as well.
The Mavericks shot 8/36 from three. Yes, only 22% from deep, including shooting 2/18 in the first half. You make one more and we have a tie ball game. Make two and the Mavs win.
On top of that, Marcus Morris continued his hot shooting against the Mavs, making 5/7 threes last night. Closing out against the likes of Morris was an issue in last week’s loss against the Knicks and that issue trickled over to last night’s loss as well.
Where’s Justin Jackson?
A question that I asked myself several times last night. Jackson didn’t see the floor. Why? Not sure.
Jackson’s offense could have been a huge help in that second unit last night, as the Knicks bench outplayed the Mavericks bench across the board. Remember how the Mavs only shot 8/36 from three? Yeah, Jackson is shooting 45.5% from deep this season and 50% from the field all together.
But there’s a bigger question here outside from Justin Jackson’s minutes; it’s about the entire rotation as a whole. Clearly, we’re 11 games in so it’s a relatively small sample size but the rotation needs to start coming to form in a consistent manner.
I get it, when the Mavs started 5-2, it’s easy to get caught up in early season success. Since, the Mavs have lost three of the last four games. Which isn’t the end of the world, but being that two of those losses are against the Knicks, it’s disheartening.
A playoff team just simply doesn’t get outplayed twice in one week by a team of the Knicks caliber. As I said earlier, it’s inexcusable. Being in the Western Conference, every game matters, especially games against lottery teams. Those games are must-win games.
These two losses to the Knicks can easily and will probably come back to haunt the Mavs when a potential playoff berth and seeding is on the line.
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