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Mavericks-Knicks Preview

AP - Sports

After experiencing his first loss as an NBA starter, New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin might get some help.

There's at least a slight chance that Baron Davis and J.R. Smith could be added to the rotation Sunday afternoon when New York hosts the Dallas Mavericks, who will try to add to both their longest winning streak of the season and their recent mastery of the Knicks.

Lin has become a national sensation since he first scored 25 points off the bench in a 99-92 win over New Jersey on Feb. 4, then led New York (15-16) to six more victories in a row while in the starting lineup.

The former Harvard standout totaled 136 points in his first five starts, the most by any player since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, and he had 26 against visiting New Orleans on Friday. However, he also committed nine turnovers - tied for the most in the league this season - in the Knicks' 89-85 defeat.

"Just a lackluster effort on my part coming out and careless with the ball, and so nine turnovers is obviously never going to get it done from your primary ballhandler," Lin said. "It's on me in terms of taking care of the ball and also the game in general."

While Lin tries to bounce back, Davis and Smith have a chance to make their New York debuts Sunday.

New York inked Davis to a one-year deal Dec. 19 but a herniated disc in his back has kept him from playing. The veteran guard might remain out until after next weekend's All-Star break.

"He's close. He could go. I think he could play (Sunday)," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We'll see, but I want to work him a little bit gradually."

The Knicks signed Smith, who had been playing in China after five seasons in Denver, on Friday but D'Antoni said his preference is for the swingman not to play before he's had a chance to practice.

Smith, though, is reportedly in shape and D'Antoni says he "will see what happens."

The Knicks will likely be without All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony for a seventh straight game because of a strained right groin. D'Antoni said it's likely Anthony will return for Monday night's game against New Jersey.

Anthony's absence could give the Mavericks a prime opportunity for a seventh consecutive win overall and a season-high fourth in a row on the road.

Dallas (20-11) has also won 17 of its last 19 meetings with the Knicks and five straight at MSG. Dirk Nowitzki's 29.4 scoring average there since the beginning of the 2001-02 season is his best in any road arena.

Nowitzki had 29 points and 11 rebounds in a 113-97 win at MSG last February, and was one of three Mavericks to score at least 20 along with Shawn Marion and Jason Terry in a 127-109 home victory March 10 as Dallas swept the season series.

Nowitzki is averaging 24.3 points on 50.0 percent shooting over his last eight games. He scored 24 of his 28 points in the second half Friday to rally Dallas from a 15-point deficit for an 82-75 win at Philadelphia.

"I had a couple go in, and we all know when a shooter sees a couple go in, the confidence goes up," Nowitzki said. "I knew in the second half I was going to come out and keep firing. I'm glad they went in."

Terry did not play Friday due to "a personal situation" according to coach Rick Carlisle, and also missed Wednesday's victory over Denver due to a strained right quad, but is expected to return Sunday.

Knicks center Tyson Chandler, who started 74 games for the Mavericks in 2010-11, is expected to be in the lineup to face his former team for the first time since a three-team trade Dec. 10.

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