New York Knicks: Preview And Prediction For Tonight’s Game At Dallas

Dec 7, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) shoots over Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 7, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) shoots over Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Knicks will look to build on their win over Indiana Pacers and make it two straight victories when they travel to play the Dallas Mavericks.

The New York Knicks continue a brief road trip tonight against the 15-29 Dallas Mavericks. Dallas is the No. 13 seed in the Western Conference.

On Monday night, the Knicks secured a necessary road win against the Indiana Pacers, improving their record to 20-26. As it stands, the Knicks are 3.0 games back of the Pacers for No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

It seems like head coach Jeff Hornacek will remain with the same starting lineup of Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, and Joakim Noah.

Hornacek mentioned that Willy Hernangomez has earned himself more minutes with his consistent play in the past few games.

While I believe that Noah should be benched in favor of Hernangomez, I respect Hornacek’s decision to try and remain consistent with his rotations.

By the same token, how many more productive games from Hernangomez will it take for him to secure a starting spot? After all, Hornacek has shown that he will reward players and lineups that compete on both ends of the floor.

It’s also worth noting that starting Noah forces Anthony to play at small forward, a position that I believe he should no longer be playing.

Anthony can get his shot off against virtually anyone. However, on the defensive end, Anthony is too slow at this point of his career to guard athletic wing players. Anthony is best when defending a power forward who predominantly plays down low, where Anthony’s defensive strengths are.

Nevertheless, the Knicks won a road game in Indiana with this starting lineup, so it’s understandable for Hornacek to stick with it.

Porzingis had one of his worst outings in his career on Monday night, scoring just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting with four rebounds, three turnovers, and a +/- of -7.

Luckily, Porzingis feels as though he’s figured out what he has to do mechanically to improve his shot.

Porzingis mentioned that his shot was flat, not getting enough lift in his jump shot. He also said that his shot tends to be flat when shots are wide open, as opposed to the arc he puts on his shot when a defender is closing on him.

Porzingis will look to get his shot back on track as he faces off, potentially for the final time, against one of his idols: Dirk Nowitzki.

Last time he played Dallas, Porzingis hit a signature Nowitzki fadeaway off one foot and stared him down as he went up the court.

This would be a perfect game for Hornacek to start Porzingis at center.

The Mavericks are second in the NBA in points allowed in the paint per game at 38.1. Much of that dominance down low has been a result of Andrew Bogut clogging the paint.

Fortunately for the Knicks, it seems Bogut will not play tonight.

If Bogut is held out, the Mavericks will start Deron Williams, Seth Curry, Wesley Matthews (also questionable to play tonight), Harrison Barnes, and Nowitzki at center.

Porzingis would normally struggle against dominant centers who outweigh him and play in the paint, but that isn’t Nowitzki’s game.

Despite keeping the same starting lineup, look for Hornacek to give Porzingis some minutes at the center position tonight against the under-sized Mavericks.

The Mavericks are last in the NBA in pace at 93.28. Since the Mavericks prefer a half court offense, Hornacek should look to get out in transition.

If Bogut can’t go, it forces Nowitzki to lock up the paint, which is quite a lot to ask from a veteran who has has played power forward his entire career.

The Verdict

With a healthy Knicks team, Hornacek has plenty of options. He can play a small lineup, hoping the athleticism and uptempo offense throws the Mavericks off their game.

He can also play a big lineup. By playing the inside-out game, he’d enable Porzingis and Hernangomez to go to work in the paint against Dallas’ depleted frontcourt.

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The Mavericks are No. 20 in defensive efficiency at 106.3, while the Knicks are No. 25 at 108.1. Since both defenses are pedestrian, at best, this will be an offensive game.

If so, an offensive game will be an advantage for the Knicks, who have a healthy Rose, Anthony, and Porzingis all playing at the same time.

Coming off of an impressive road victory, you’d have to assume the Knicks will come out tonight with a sense or urgency, as they look to make a playoff push.

Then again, just when you think you have the Knicks figured out, they prove that you don’t.


It’s important the Knicks win the games they’re supposed to win—especially when the next three games will be against the Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, and Washington Wizards.

With 36 games left in the season, the time is now to make a run.

Must Read: Who is the greatest coach in franchise history?

Porzingis gets his jump shot back on track against Nowitzki and leads the Knicks in scoring. Knicks win, 104-96.