Many NBA observers wondered when the New York Knicks seven game winning streak ended on Friday night as the club fell to the New Orleans Hornets by a score of 89-85, if that would be the end of the “Magical Mystery Tour” the team had been on since second-year point guard Jeremy Lin burst into the Knicks starting lineup and into the national consciousness with a victory over the New Jersey Nets on February 4. The New York guard who even was praised by President Obama this past week; showed that he was ready for a second dance at the ball on Sunday as “Lin-derella” racked up yet another double-double including a team high 28 points as his team defeated the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden 104-97.
The home team jumped out to a comfortable advantage at the conclusion of the first and then allowed their opponents back into the contest at the half. The Mavericks would control the action throughout the third; however New York responded with an offensive barrage in the final 12 minutes of play that included four treys by Steve Novak and two more by Lin to get them the victory. The newest member of the squad; shooting guard J.R. Smith was a key factor in the game as he dropped 15 points coming off the bench in his NBA season debut. Tyson Chandler notched a double-double with 14 points in his first game opposing his team from last season while Novak also scored 14 points in the win.
Dirk Nowitzki scored a game high 34 points in the contest in this roller-coaster affair; however he got too little support from the rest of his team to get the victory. Dallas held a 12 point lead during the third; only to see it shrink to just three points at the end of the period. They would be outscored by their opponents by ten points in the final 12 minutes as their six game winning streak came to an end.
The Mavericks came out of the gate looking tentative and sluggish and their opponents would quickly exploit that jumping ahead early in the period. Lin hit a shot six feet from the hoop with one second remaining and giving his team the upper hand with the score 32-20 at the end of the quarter.
New York’s offense sputtered and stalled during the second as Dallas made their run; cutting their deficit to 46-45 when Shawn Marion knocked down a pair at the line with 1:31 left to play. Ten seconds later Chandler responded with a rim shaking dunk and as the game reached the half the Knicks held a slim 48-45 advantage.
The Mavericks would open the third on a 15-5 run and as Shawn Marion connected on a short jumper with 8:14 left in the period his team would be on top 60-53. Less than four minutes later Dallas looked like they were ready to run away with the game as Nowitzki hit a pair at the charity stripe putting his team ahead 70-58. The home team stepped it up as they closed out the period on a 14-5 run; including eight points by Lin. With 12 seconds remaining Lin slammed the rock through the hole with authority and the Mavericks lead was down to 75-72 at the end of the quarter.
New York would grab the lead for the balance of the game with 8:36 on the clock as Novak buried the first of his four treys in the quarter making it an 81-80 contest. The Knicks pulled ahead to a comfortable margin but the Mavericks would threaten late in the period as Marion drove the lane putting the ball up and in with 1:07 left to play cutting the home team’s lead to 100-97. That would be as close as the visitors would get however as New York held on for the win.
Lin knocked down 28 points, dished off a career high 14 assists, 5 steals, 4 rebounds and a block while Smith came off the bench with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. Chandler scored 14 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks while Novak came off the pine and had 14 points, 3 rebounds and 1 steal. Landry Fields added 13 points while Amar’e Stoudemire chipped in 11 points in the win.
Nowitzki scored a game high 34 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steal. Marion had 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals while Jason Terry came off the bench with 13 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. New York is back to even at 16-16 and will host the Nets on Monday while Dallas now has a 20-12 record and will welcome the Boston Celtics to their arena on Monday.