The Dallas Mavericks will once again face the point guard that helped lead them to the team’s first NBA title. Jason Kidd makes his return to Dallas when he and his New York Knicks will play the Mavs for the second and final time this season. In the previous meeting Carmelo Anthony had his way offensively and led the Knicks to a 104-94 victory.
Rick Carlisle and the Mavs come into this one at an even 6-6 record and fresh off an awfully brutal home OT loss to the Golden State Warriors. Warriors’ star guard Stephen Curry picked apart the Mavs defense, besting O.J. Mayo’s valiant effort to pull the win out for our guys.
The Knicks meanwhile continue to cruise through their early schedule with an 8-1 record. The latest victim was the New Orleans Hornets last night who played without rookie sensation Anthony Davis.
Success for the Knicks isn’t a fluke. New York has been superb on the defensive end. No team surrenders fewer points (88.3). Already with DPOY Tyson Chandler in the middle, the addition of Kidd and Ronnie Brewer on the wing adds grit. Melo has made it a point himself to work harder and get better defensively too. The Knicks also do it offensively with the 3-point shot. They lead the NBA in attempts and makes.
As evident in the first meeting, this will not be a barn-burner as in years past. The halfcourt game will be important. Dallas needs to value the basketball and limit unforced turnovers because the Knicks excel on the break.
Another key factor for the Mavs will be on the defensive end. Shawn Marion wasn’t active last time the two teams met, which left only Dahntay Jones and rookie Jae Crowder to cover the elite scoring Anthony. It didn’t work as Melo got what he wanted and dropped 31 points with relative ease. Marion has been very effective in slowing down Melo in the past, but with an achy knee we will see what transpires.
In New York, Mayo started the game scorching from deep, but got himself into foul trouble. He was also a mess turning the rock over eight times. That’s absurdly poor and since then he’s toned the careless giveaways somewhat, but still needs to improve on protecting the ball better.
Darren Collison really wants and needs his confidence to return. He hasn’t resembled the player he was in the first few games this year, but I still believe he’ll bounce back. The Mavs are much better when DC elevates his play by creating opportunities for his teammates.
What’s going to be the response for Jason Kidd when he’s introduced as the starter for the visiting New York Knicks tonight? I think there will be a mixed result with plenty ‘Boos’ and plenty cheers. I would cheer because he was a huge piece in winning the championship and I believe both the Mavs and Kidd benefited from the split over the summer.
Everyone is happy, well maybe everyone besides Mr. Cuban!
Game tips tonight at 7:30 p.m. CT and airs on both FSSW and MSG.
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