The Mavs entered the new year on a four game winning streak and hoped it would lead to more winning ways. Instead they have lost both games in 2018. Dallas will look to get their first win in the new year and end their two game losing streak against the New York Knicks on Sunday. The Knicks will also be looking to end their own losing streak that stretches back to 2017. New York has lost eight of their last ten games and is coming into Dallas on a three game losing streak. Both teams have sub-.500 winning records with the Knicks at 18-21 and the Mavs at 13-72.
Dennis Smith Jr. has played well over his last four games with averages of 17.25 points, 7.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 48% from the field and 51% from three. He registered his first triple double with 21 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds in a win against Mavs fan favorite Rajon Rondo and the Pelicans on December 30th. Sunday’s game will be the first time 9th pick Dennis Smith Jr will play against 8th pick Frank Ntilikina.
LeBron James made headlines in November for saying that “[Dennis Smith Jr.] should be a Knick.” Although he later clarified his statement was a dig at former Knicks President Phil Jackson, I would expect the Knicks rookie point guard to play with a little more edge in Sunday’s game. Over his last four Ntilikina has struggled by only scoring 5 points, 2.5 assists, 2.25 rebounds, 0.5 steals in 22 minutes. The low steal and rebounding numbers especially stick out for him as his strength going into the draft was touted as being a long, strong defender.
The Mavs attention to rebounding must be at an all time high to pull out a win against a New York Knicks team that features Kristaps Porzingis, Enes Kanter, and Kyle O’Quinn. Each of them averages roughly 6 rebounds per game or more for a Knicks team that is 12th in the NBA with 44 rebounds per game. Dallas ranks 26th in the NBA with 40 rebounds per game.
These two teams operate much differently in regards to offense. Dallas ranks 4th in the NBA in three pointers made at 12 per game while shooting 37% for the season. New York ranks dead last in the NBA in three pointers made at 7 per game while shooting 35% for the season. Due to the lack of three point makes, 62% of the Knicks points are from inside the three point arc. Dallas scores 51% of their points from inside of the three point arc. Although their way of scoring points differs, both teams are neck and neck in offensive rating for the season, with the Mavs at 16th in the NBA with a 104.5 rating and the Knicks at 17th with a 104.1 rating.
Sunday’s game will also feature a special moment for former Mavs point guard Derek Harper. Harper will be getting his #12 jersey retired for the Mavs against his other former team the New York Knicks. He spent 12 seasons with the Mavs before being traded to New York in the 1993-1994 season. In Mavs rankings Harper is fourth in points (12,597), first in assists (5,111), first in steals (1,551), and third in games played (872).
The game starts at 6:00 pm central time on Fox Sports Southwest.
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