From American Airlines Center, the New York Knicks’ five-game winning streak was on the line against the Dallas Mavericks. With Julius Randle at the helm, New York saw themselves on the wrong side of a blowout until a late surge in the fourth quarter. An epic showing down the stretch, but ultimately it was the Dallas Mavericks taking the 128-124 win led by Kyrie Irving.
Studs: Donte DiVincenzo continues his streak of solid play
The Knicks are in good graces to have Donte DiVincenzo on this squad. Over the last seven games, DiVincenzo is averaging 17 points on 51.7% from the field. Remarkable poise and utmost professionalism with how DiVincenzo approaches the game make him a valuable player on the court.
Averaging the most three-point attempts on the team while simultaneously shooting the highest percentage (43.9%), the Knicks have a collection of high IQs in the rotation with DiVincenzo near the top of that list.
Donte now has stretched his double-digit scoring streak to seven straight games and looks to extend that against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Studs: Isaiah “The Hitman” Hartenstein filling big shoes
Reports have indicated that former starting center Mitchell Robinson is expected to return to action before the end of the regular season. The depth the Knicks possess in the frontcourt, especially with Isaiah Hartenstein’s premiere production, will be a serious issue for opposing defenses.
The facet of grabbing rebounds was much of Robinson’s repertoire but Hartenstein’s persistence has led to him averaging the most rebounds in the NBA since the new year. Over the last six games, Hartenstein has averaged 13.8 rebounds and doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon.
Duds: Lack of shining stars
Seeing the box score would have one believe Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson displayed a masterclass performance. Truth be told, both players struggled mightily in the first half and the Knicks were down 20 points in the second quarter, digging a hole that neither could pull them out of.
Including a combined seven turnovers in the first half, it looked to be a rough showing from the Knicks’ pillars. A dynamic showing from Randle with 19 points in the third quarter was followed by a 12-point fourth quarter from Brunson, but it was too little too late against a surging Mavericks offense.
The Dallas Mavericks rank top eight in pace per contest, and Kyrie Irving played lights out. The absence of star Luka Doncic may have lessened the Knicks’ sense of urgency but a famous quote goes, “Don’t play with your food.”
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Duds: The Knicks’ poor defense
The token of pride carried this new year by the Knicks has been their phenomenal defense down the stretch. A weak defensive outing saw Dallas have their highest-scoring opening quarter of the season without their best player. The weak transition defense in the half-court saw the Knicks allow players such as Grant Williams and Josh Green to play well above their tiers.
Tim Hardaway Jr also had himself a night with 32 points, as the barrage of buckets kept the Knicks down big until it was too late. Kyrie Irving set the tone from the jump and fueled a win while Knicks players took turns lacking defensive discipline against one of the best volume scorers in the NBA today.
Takeaways from the loss to the Mavericks
A tough loss that saw a roaring comeback cut short by luck just not being on the Knicks’ side for this occasion down the stretch. The Knicks and Mavericks will meet again on February 8th in Madison Square Garden. Now that the win streak is over, a sense of urgency follows this squad on the road to Memphis before being back in MSG with a four-game home stand.