A Ranking of Mavericks-Knicks Winners and Losers
My favorite team has always been the Dallas Mavericks. I just moved to New York and am trying to become a New York Knicks fan. I watched the game between the Mavericks and the Knicks, two bad teams that are sad and painful to watch at times, in which the Knicks pulled away for a 93–77 blowout win. Make no mistakes, this game was not fun. Here are the winners and losers:
1 Dirk Nowitzki
Yeah, I know he’s not healthy, and he’d obviously love to be out there with the guys. But at least he was saved from this lackluster, sputtering performance by the Mavs.
2 Kristaps Porzingis
KRISTAPS! See: When you give this unicorn the ball, the Knicks win. Porzingis finished with 24 points (8–16 from the field, 2–5 from three), 11 rebounds and one Mike Breen accidentally calling him Dirk Nowitzki. You can’t have a much better night than being mistaken for Dirk when draining a three or nailing an awkward one-legged fadeaway.
3 Carmelo Anthony
Melo had an awful first half and looked to be going through the motions. Missed shots, bad fouls and careless turnovers plagued him. Then the third quarter got started, and he had 16 points. Anthony finished 24 points and seven rebounds, a typical game from him nowadays.
4 Harrison Barnes
Barnes has surprised practically everybody, and he played well again in Madison Square Garden. He finished with 20 points on 8 of 17 shooting and was able to score with a variety of mid-range pullups and drives to the basket; he missed both threes he attempted, however, and he really needs to consistently add that to his game to become a complete offensive threat.
More worryingly is the fact that Barnes is playing so well but the Mavs are still losing. Barnes is better than most thought, but he shouldn’t be the main guy. Third or fourth-best player? Absolutely. But this team needs Dirk badly and when he returns, that can make Barnes’ game even more efficient.
5 Justin Holiday
Justin Holiday of all players completely changed the game. He started the third quarter, in which the Knicks outscored the Mavs 31 to 12, and helped carry NY to a blowout victory. Holiday finished with 16 points (6–7 FG), four rebounds and two steals. Is he the best piece in the Derrick Rose-Joakim Noah trade?
6 J.J. Barea
The little guy’s still got it and, for better or worse, is probably the best point guard on the roster. Barea finished with 17 points and four assists and continues to attack the rim with regularity, as well as make his awkward threes and off-balance jumpers. He can’t play defense to save his life, but he’s so fun to watch on the court.
7 Andrew Bogut
That’s really it for Bogut, who’s still struggling to find his place in the team.
8 Courtney Lee, Brandon Jennings, Willy Hernangomez, Ron Baker, Sasha Vujacic, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Maurice Daly Ndour, Kyle O’Quinn,
These guys got minutes and won a basketball game.
8 Knicks fans
It’s tough to be a Knicks fan but, tonight, they got the win and actually played good defense. Save the self-deprecating jokes for another night.
9 Dorian Finney-Smith, Wes Matthews, Dwight Powell, Nicolas Brussino, Quincy Acy, Salah Mejri, A.J. Hammons, Seth Curry
These guys got minutes and lost a basketball game.
10 Mavs fans
Mavericks fans are spoiled by years and years of regular-season success, consistent playoff appearances, Rick Carlisle and DIRK. But seeing Nowitzki on the bench injured while the team drags itself to a 2–7 record sucks. This shouldn’t be how it ends for Dirk, but the NBA’s not very fair.
11 NBA fans
They might actually be a lot higher since most were probably wise enough to watch a different game. Anybody who watched this game as a neutral fan looking to learn more about other teams and players was not rewarded.
12 Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah
If you didn’t watch that closely, it would be easy to think that neither of these two played. Noah only had 15 minutes on the court and pretty much did nothing. Rose had 28 minutes, finishing with three points, five assists and five turnovers. It’s particularly vexing for the Knicks that Rose isn’t clicking with the team at all. He’s still got talent and burst, but he just doesn’t seem to fit with this roster in any way.
13 Justin Anderson
Zero for 11 from the field and zero for five from deep. Ouch. This guy is athletic, works hard and is great on defense. But, if he can’t score, he’s not going to play that much anymore.
Erase this game from your memory.
Photo courtesy of Keith Allison (Flickr)