Knicks-Mavericks Preview

The Associated Press

One of the signature performances during Jeremy Lin's rise came when he led the New York Knicks to a nationally-televised victory over the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.

Lin is now enduring some woes heading into a rematch with the Mavericks on Tuesday - a night on which Tyson Chandler will receive a championship ring in his return to Dallas.

New York (18-19) had lost 17 of 19 meetings to Dallas (22-17) before Lin had 28 points, a career-high 14 assists and five steals in a 104-97 home win Feb. 19. He drew praise from point guard counterpart Jason Kidd afterward.

The Knicks sensation, though, has now hit a rough patch, missing 20 of 27 shots and totaling eight assists and 14 turnovers over consecutive road losses.

"I'd rather be going through these tough times right now than in the playoffs," Lin said. "So just trying to learn as much as I can and hopefully we can make a push."

Chandler can expect a warm reception from the Dallas fans after he helped the franchise win its first title in his lone season with the Mavericks by leading the club in rebounding and blocks.

"I'm just really looking forward to being back here," said Chandler, whom the Mavericks dealt to New York in December. "You know, last year was incredible. I felt a lot of the emotions from the fans here, I know how much they respect my game and what I was able to bring last year."

Chandler had 14 points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting with Dallas. He could have an easier time Tuesday if Mavs starting center Brendan Haywood does not play.

Haywood sprained his left ankle on the first possession of Monday's 95-91 loss at Oklahoma City and did not return.

The Mavericks have dropped six of eight, beginning with their loss to the Knicks. They came to New York on a season-high six-game win streak before their up-close view of 'Linsanity'.

Dallas played a fairly good game Monday before being outscored 8-0 over the final 2:45.

"We haven't really been sharp on our execution at the end of ball games and that's hurt us,'' guard Jason Terry said. "Not a big concern because I know the type of team we are. We thrive in those situations."

Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points on the heels of his season-high 40-point effort in Saturday's win over Utah. He and coach Rick Carlisle were not happy that the host Thunder shot 33 free throws compared to 10 attempts for Dallas.

"I don't want to be accusatory to the officials," Carlisle said. "I thought our guys were aggressive enough to have deserved a few more chances.''

The Knicks are also among the NBA's best teams in getting to the line mainly because of Carmelo Anthony, who missed last month's meeting while sidelined with a groin injury. Anthony became a Mavericks nemesis during the 2009 playoffs, when he averaged 30.0 points against them in a playoff series victory with Denver.

The All-Star forward has had mixed results in five games alongside Lin in the starting lineup, averaging 18.4 points - more than three below his season average - on 41.7 percent shooting.

"We definitely have the talent, it's just about coming together at this point," Chandler said.

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