Boos rain on Knicks as Tim Hardaway Jr. haunts them in Mavs 2nd half comeback

Tim Hardaway, Jr. New York Knicks

It was supposed to be Jalen Brunson’s revenge game. Instead, it was former New York Knicks guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. who came away with one.

Hardaway Jr. sparked the Dallas Mavericks’ big second-half surge with five triples in the third quarter to run away with a 121-100 win on a Sunday matinee before a disappointed 18,319 Madison Square Garden crowd.

Boos started to rain on the Knicks as the Mavericks extended their lead to 30, 113-83, on a Dwight Powell dunk with still 7:15 remaining. It grew even louder at the buzzer as the Knicks turned out a dispiriting second-half effort.

After leading by as many as 15 in the first half, the Knicks came out at the break lethargic.

Hardaway, Jr. came out firing while Luka Doncic got it going. They combined for 36 of the Mavericks’ 41 points in the third quarter, where things got ugly for the Knicks.

The lone remnant of the Kristaps Porzingis trade, Hardaway Jr. hit a season-best 8 of 13 from deep and went down as the most 3s he ever made at the Garden. Overall, the Mavericks made 24 3s, the third-most allowed by the Knicks to a visiting team.

“The missed shots, you can deal with. …As long as you’re being unselfish and taking the right shots, that’s part of the game. But the rebounding piece of it, the turnover piece of it. That’s hard. It’s hard to win like that. And so we have to fix it, and we have to fix it fast.”

Tom Thibodeau postgame via MSG Network

The Knicks (45.5%) shot better than the Mavericks (43%). But the problem was Dallas had more attempts, 100 to New York’s 77. The 30 three-point attempts disparity was staggering.

Even without Christian Wood (non-COVID illness), the Mavericks beat the Knicks in rebounds by five, 50-45, and in the offensive glass, 14-7, which translated to 13 more second-chance points.

After a phenomenal effort against Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks, Robinson had a quiet game with two points and six boards.

What’s worse, the Knicks turned the ball over 19 times, eight more than the Mavericks.

The heat could only rise from here for the Knicks as they host Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers Sunday night in the backend of a tough back-to-back schedule.

Mitchell was convinced he was about to come home and play for the Knicks until the Cavaliers scooped him up in the 11th hour. Now, he’ll try to add to his hometown team’s miseries.

The loss was their fifth straight at home, dropping them 10-13 overall.

Brunson was a little out of sync against his old team. The Mavericks limited Brunson to 13 points on 11 shots and three assists and reminded him what he left behind.

Doncic shook off a poor first half (11 points on 3 of 11 field goals) to finish with a game-high 30 points. The Mavericks superstar exploded for 19 in the pivotal third quarter with 19 points on 8 of 10 shots.

Julius Randle, who had 21 points in the first half, fell silent after the halftime break. The Dallas native could only cough up one three-pointer the rest of the way against his hometown team.

This loss was up there with their other embarrassing effort in a 145-135 home loss to Oklahoma City Thunder last month, which reportedly heightened the scrutiny on Tom Thibodeau and the entire organization under team president Leon Rose.

How many more embarrassing home losses and boos can they survive?

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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