Mavericks at Knicks
The preseason talk was all about how old the New York Knicks were and how the offense would struggle without Amar’e Stoudemire around for the first six weeks. So far, the Knicks have had no trouble scoring points despite the advanced age of their roster. New York looks a lot like one of the best teams in the NBA and will try to move to 4-0 when it hosts the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. The Mavericks are another team exceeding expectations.
Dirk Nowitzki’s injury has not slowed the Dallas offense, which is putting up an average of 108.4 points. O.J. Mayo is off to a hot start in his first season with the team and Darren Collison is settling in nicely at the point. That offense could have its work cut out for it against the Knicks, who have stifled opponents into an average of 85.3 points - the lowest mark in the NBA. That includes a win over defending champion Miami and back-to-back triumphs over Philadelphia - all in the span of four days.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Southwest (Dallas), MSG (New York)
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (4-1): When Nowitzki opted to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee, many thought Dallas would struggle to score points. That has proven to not be the case, as Mayo has averaged a team-high 21.6 points and Chris Kaman, another newcomer, is putting up 18.0 points and 6.0 rebounds. The Mavericks’ top three scorers, including Collison, are all new this season, and rookie Jae Crowder keeps earning himself more playing time. Dallas has been slower to come together on the defensive end but could afford to surrender some points while putting up 116.3 during its just-completed three-game homestand.
ABOUT THE KNICKS (3-0): New York’s play has been uplifting for a city still recovering from Hurricane Sandy’s devastation. Carmelo Anthony delivered supplies to victims on Thursday but will get back to the business of leading the Knicks on the court Friday. Anthony has averaged 26.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in the first three games and has bought into coach Mike Woodson’s defensive system. That defense has limited opponents to 40.7 percent shooting while forcing 17.3 turnovers. New York will begin a stretch of six of seven games on the road after the meeting with Dallas.
1. The Knicks will get even more defensive help on Friday, when C Marcus Camby is due to make his season debut. Camby will back up starter Tyson Chandler.
2. Mavericks G Rodrigue Beaubois (ankle) has missed three straight games but could return on Friday.
3. Dallas has taken eight of the last 10 in the series but New York managed to beat the Mavericks at Madison Square Garden 104-97 on Feb. 19 behind 28 points from since-departed Jeremy Lin.