The Dallas Mavericks haven’t been at their best as they look to finish with a winning record on their road trip.
They’ll finish their five-game trip Sunday when they try to maintain their recent dominance over the New York Knicks.
Dallas (28-15) has split the first four games of this road swing, opening with a 22-point loss to Toronto before wins over Boston and Washington. The Mavericks turned in their lowest-scoring effort in a road game Friday in a 92-81 loss to Philadelphia.
“We had lapses at the wrong time,” coach Rick Carlisle said.
Marion missed nearly the entire second quarter with a lacerated right hand which needed three stitches. He said he “hurt like hell,” but will keep playing.
Dallas has won seven straight and 14 of its last 15 meetings with New York (17-25). The Mavericks turned their season around in their last visit to Madison Square Garden, a 124-114 overtime victory Nov. 16, 2008.
Dallas entered that game with a 2-7 mark and trailed by seven with 2:28 remaining in regulation before forcing New York to miss its final 14 shots from the field. Nowitzki had 39 points and 15 boards for the Mavericks, who went on to win nine of 10 en route to winning 50 games for the ninth straight season.
The Knicks are playing a second straight Western Conference contender after losing 115-105 to the Lakers on Friday. New York took a lead into the fourth quarter before the reigning NBA champions took control.
“I thought overall we played a good game that we had a chance to win,” coach Mike D’Antoni said.
David Lee(notes) had 31 points and 17 rebounds to continue his push to become the Knicks’ first All-Star since Allan Houston(notes) and Latrell Sprewell both earned the honor nine years ago. Lee is averaging 21.6 points and 13.4 rebounds over his last 17 games.
“We’ll see, day-to-day,” D’Antoni said. “Hopefully he’ll be back sooner than later and we’ll figure it out.”
D’Antoni has been giving some minutes to first-round pick Jordan Hill(notes), who has appeared in three straight games for the second time. Hill has a total of 20 points and 14 rebounds in that span after finishing with eight and seven Friday.
“He played really well,” D’Antoni said. “He’s done that for the last couple games so he’s coming on a little bit.”