Preview

Knicks Head to Dallas for Rematch Against Mavericks

New York faces Dirk’s team in Texas on the heels of a potential (wait for it) two-game winning streak

Photo: via Knicks.com

After an exciting last-minute win in Indianapolis, in which the Knicks were finally on the victorious side, the boys in blue head down south to Dallas to take on the Mavericks for Part II of this season series.

The last time these two teams faced off, the Knicks overcame a woeful first half en route to a blowout victory over Mavericks, with Carmelo Anthony leading the charge on his way to a 24-point night at the Garden.

At that time, the Knicks were shooting up the Eastern Conference standings. Now, the ‘Bockers find themselves in 11th place heading into tonight’s game with a paltry record of 20–26.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

In any case, here’s what to keep an eye on tonight:

Kristaps Porzingis

  • Is it his Achilles? Did he suddenly forget how to score? Did the Monstars take his powers? Per Knicks.com, Kristaps has only scored 37 total points in his first three games back from nursing his sore Achilles. Common sense says he’s just easing his was back into action, but after three consecutive mediocre games concluded by his stinker against the Pacers, there’s some legitimate concerns about this slump he’s in. More so, if this Achilles soreness is reoccurring and/or troublesome, why risk it? The ceiling for this team is as an eight seed. Why force the issue with your 21-year old franchise cornerstone? Here’s to hoping Porzingis has a resurgent game in Dallas tonight against a weak Mavericks team.
Photo: via Knicks.com

Big Willy Style

  • Alright, fine, I’ll say it: Willy Hernangómez is the best center in the NBA named Willy. Over his last four games, Willy is averaging 11.3 points and 10.5 rebounds, while shooting a scorching 54 percent from the field. Furthermore, Willy is posting a ORtg of 116 and a DRtg of 93 over the last four games he’s played in, with a TS% of 61.8. Willy has done this in a minuscule 19.7 minutes per contest, mind you. With Willy finding his comfort-zone and Kyle O’Quinn playing consistently, it’s hard to imagine coach Hornacek won’t be hard-pressed to reduce Joakim Noah’s minutes to allow for these young guys to start playing a larger role.

Carmelo Anthony

  • The big news that continues to dominate the headlines is whether Carmelo will be traded or not, however, for the first time all season we’re finally witnessing some really consistent play from ‘Melo. Over his last six matches, he’s putting up 25 points a night on 50 percent shooting from the field and from deep. While this bodes well for the team as a whole, a certain GM who’s hot-boxing his MSG office with peyote smoke is likely grinning as ‘Melo’s trade value is trending upward at the right time. In all seriousness, if this team hopes to get anywhere this season in terms of making or competing in the playoffs, ‘Melo will need to keep this up for the duration of the season. Look for him to #StayMe7o tonight in Dallas on his way to another big night against a depleted and poor Mavericks team.

The Knicks should be able to win without much issue tonight. That being said, buckle up and prepare for another nail-biter. The Mavericks aren’t much of a competitive team at this juncture, but with Rick Carlisle at the helm and an old, yet healthy and moderately effective Dirk Nowitzki playing, the Knicks can’t allow themselves to think they’re in for an easy night (Spoiler: they undoubtedly will). The remains of Deron Williams isn’t much of a threat in 2017, so if the Knicks can keep Harrison Barnes from having a big night, they should be alright. We can only hope so, anyway (or not, if tanking is your preference).

Kyle Maggio, senior writer

Follow The Knicks Wall on Facebook and Twitter and listen to Kyle and Anthony on the TKW Podcast on SoundCloud.

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