The Dallas Mavericks haven’t played well on the road this season. They also haven’t played anywhere quite like Madison Square Garden, where the frustrated fans of the New York Knicks aren’t creating any sort of home-court advantage.
The Mavs will look to extend New York’s misery and win for the 11th time in 12 meetings with the Knicks in Monday’s matchup at MSG.
Dallas (13-8) is 4-6 on the road this season after losing just 10 times on the road all of last season. The Mavs have dropped three of their last four away from the American Airlines Center and have struggled overall since their 9-2 start, winning four of their last 10.
Dallas is already more than halfway to its loss total of last season, when it finished 67-15.
The Mavericks’ struggles, though, pale in comparison to those of the Knicks. New York (6-13) fell into last place in the Atlantic Division after losing two straight to Philadelphia over the weekend, including a 105-77 home defeat Saturday.
During the blowout loss, music was pumped into MSG to drown out the fans’ boos and calls for coach Isiah Thomas’ job.
“I was searching tonight,” Thomas said. “I went one through 12 just trying to find any combination that would work, any person that had some type of energy or fire. And there was nothing there tonight.”
Thomas has been under fire for much of this season, which has included his public feud with point guard Stephon Marbury, an eight-game losing streak and questions about the team’s desire.
The Knicks appeared to be turning it around before the weekend, winning four of six, but Saturday’s loss seemed to indicate a big step backwards. New York was outrebounded 47-27 and managed just 12 assists while committing 16 turnovers. The Knicks shot 35.7 percent, including 5-of-23 from 3-point range.
“Tonight was definitely a tough game,” center Eddy Curry said. “… It’s been a while since I felt like this.”
The Mavericks felt great Saturday, getting 47 points and 10 rebounds from Josh Howard and shooting 59.7 percent in a 125-117 win over the Jazz. It was their best field-goal percentage since the third game of the season.
Howard, a fifth-year forward who had never scored more than 30 points in a game, bounced back from a 5-of-16 performance in the previous contest, a home loss to Denver on Thursday.
“I stayed aggressive for four quarters. I had a lot of confidence tonight and my teammates were finding me in the right spots,” Howard told the team’s official Web site. “I want to be a more complete player. A big part of helping this team out is doing a little bit of everything.”
The Mavs had no shortage of other contributors. Erick Dampier had a season-high 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting, while Jason Terry scored 19 and Devin Harris added a career-high 12 assists. Reigning league MVP Dirk Nowitzki was Dallas’ fourth-leading scorer with 16 points.
“We actually won the game by any means necessary because they were strongly challenged today,” Dallas coach Avery Johnson told the team’s Web site. “They were challenged in a way that appealed to their pride.”
Dallas swept last season’s series, including a 92-77 win at MSG. The Mavs’ only loss in the last 11 meetings came at New York on Jan. 11, 2006, 117-115 in overtime.
Dallas has averaged 108.1 points during the 10-1 run against the Knicks.