Steve Novak and the Knicks Discount Double-Check Mavericks
The Wisconsin native dropped all of his 14 points in the final period, giving his team and a thunderous Madison Square Garden crowd an awing 4th quarter performance.
And then he gave the defending champion Dallas Mavericks the discount double-check.
Once the Knicks took the lead in the fourth, they never looked back. Jeremy Lin was sensational once again, pouring in 28 points, dishing out a career high 14 assists and coming away with five steals.
While turnovers continue to plague the second-year phenom, it didn't slow down his intensity.
He continued to penetrate through the defense, driving through the lane and finding his teammates, which would net the Knicks 44 points in the paint for the game.
After outplaying Dallas in the first half, the Mavericks turned it on in the third quarter and once led by as many as 12 points. Turnovers and missed opportunities derailed the Knicks offense early in the second half, but they continued to fight.
The Knicks were solid defensively, coming away with 13 steals and five blocks. The team's defensive prowess became troubling for the Mavericks, as the Knicks were able to generate 27 points off turnovers.
Recently signed after completing his season in China, shooting guard J.R. Smith made his Knicks debut and came up big. While he probably never met a shot he didn't like, the Knicks were +21 during the newly acquired guard's 30 minutes on the floor.
Smith, fresh off the plane from China, connected on 6-16 shooting, providing his team with a spark and 15 points off the bench.
Tyson Chandler, playing his first game against his former team, once again set the tone defensively for the Knicks. He repeatedly took hard fouls from Maverick defenders, playing through the pain to produce another double-double performance, with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while also blocking three shots.
Forward Amar'e Stoudemire struggled throughout, as he never really got into the right flow all game long. At times Stoudemire looked lost defensively, forcing bad shots and committing stupid fouls.
He finished with just 11 points and seven rebounds for the afternoon.
This was an important game for the Knicks. After falling to the lowly New Orleans Hornets on Friday, the Knicks had to regain the momentum and get back to .500.
They challenged a quality opponent all day long, going toe-to-toe with the former champs. Despite trailing by more than 10 points midway through the 3rd quarter, you got the feeling these gritty Knicks could scrap out the victory, and they did.
The New Jersey Nets head to town tomorrow night, as the Knicks will play their 11th back-to-back game of the season.
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