In a battle marked by star power and depleted rosters, the Dallas Mavericks emerged victorious, defeating the New York Knicks 122-108 at the iconic Madison Square Garden. Despite missing both Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, the Mavs leaned on an inspired performance from Dorian Finney-Smith and a valiant effort from Reggie Bullock to counter the Knicks’ spirited fight.
The Knicks, without RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson due to injuries, looked to capitalize on the Mavs’ depleted backcourt. Immanuel Quickley stepped up early, scoring 18 points in the first half, while Julius Randle provided his usual inside presence with 12 points and 8 rebounds. However, the Mavs held strong, ending the half with a narrow 58-56 lead.
The absence of Doncic opened up opportunities for other Mavs to shine. Dorian Finney-Smith seized the moment, erupting for a career-high 28 points, including clutch threes and timely drives to the basket. Reggie Bullock added 23 points, showcasing his reliable perimeter shooting and relentless hustle. Spencer Dinwiddie, taking on a larger playmaking role, contributed 18 points and 8 assists.
“Dorian was phenomenal tonight,” said Mavs coach Jason Kidd. “He stepped up in a big way with Luka and Kyrie out. His offensive contributions were crucial, and his defensive effort was inspiring.”
Despite Finney-Smith’s heroics, the Knicks refused to go down without a fight. In the third quarter, Evan Fournier caught fire, hitting four three-pointers to give the Knicks a brief lead. The Mavs responded with a surge led by Bullock, who knocked down three triples of his own to reclaim the lead heading into the final frame.
The closing minutes were tense. Quickley continued his offensive onslaught, finishing with a game-high 32 points, and Randle remained a force inside. However, the Mavs’ defense tightened up, and clutch free throws from Dinwiddie and Dwight Powell sealed the victory.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game, but we found a way to win,” said Bullock. “Everyone stepped up with guys out. This win shows our character and resilience.”
- Finney-Smith’s Stellar Performance: The 29-year-old’s career night provided a much-needed scoring boost and solidified his value as a versatile two-way player.
- Knicks’ Grit Despite Injuries: Though undermanned, the Knicks played with energy and determination, showcasing their potential as a deep and competitive team.
- Doncic’s Absence Lingers: While the Mavs won, the game highlighted the significant impact of their superstar and the challenges they face without him.
The win keeps the Mavs in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, while the Knicks remain focused on securing a postseason berth. Both teams face critical stretches in their schedules, with the Mavs seeking to solidify their playoff position and the Knicks aiming to overcome their injury woes.