Kristaps Porzingis led the way with 28 points, but Derek Fisher and the New York Knicks fell short despite a late comeback attempt in a 104-97 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Knicks trailed by 23 points in the third quarter after failing to match the intensity of the Mavericks through most of the contest but erupted in the fourth to bring the game within four points after a Porzingis three-pointer with 43.7 seconds remaining. D-Fish recognized after the game that his team wasn’t playing with enough energy to get the job done against a solid Mavericks team.
“[We lacked] an activity level that we couldn’t put out there in the first half in particular. They were quicker to the ball, they were cutting faster, running faster and they were the team that played last night,” Fisher said. “They were moving at a different speed there in the first half and it took us a while to catch up to the ball movement and activity they were playing with.”
Porzingis led both teams in scoring with his 28 points in 35 minutes. He also came down with two rebounds, an assist, a steal and two blocked shots. Kristaps didn’t put up his usual rebounding numbers, but Fisher said that was in part due to how well Dallas defends the paint.
“I think they do a good job of kind of protecting their paint. Not necessarily a big power team, but they use their activity level, their smaller guys to be really active in slowing down penetration,” D-Fish said. “You don’t necessarily get into the paint as much as you would think.”
Carmelo Anthony didn’t have his best night shooting, going 6-for-18 from the field and finishing the night with 17 points. Melo also contributed with six rebounds and eight assists in his 38 minutes of action. Jose Calderon continued his nice stretch of games scoring 14 points to go along with seven boards and five assists. Calderon was accurate from downtown as well, hitting 3-of-4 of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Lance Thomas had another solid performance for Fisher, leading the reserves with 11 points in 27 minutes of action. Thomas added a couple rebounds and assists while also draining 2-of-5 of his three-pointers. Starters Aaron Afflalo and Robin Lopez had quiet nights as both combined for only 12 points. Afflalo had the more well-rounded effort adding six rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes.
Monday’s game marked the fourth game for D-Fish and Co. in the last six nights. Fisher acknowledged that his squad is still putting forth its best effort, but from a physical standpoint it is really hard for them to come out with the energy necessary to compete with so many games crammed into a week.
The lack of practice time has also been a catalyst to the Knicks’ recent rough patch in Fisher’s opinion, but he is encouraged going forward, knowing they’ll get some work in after they conclude their current road trip.
“For now we just have to continue to push through it and rely on our will and grit and just wanting to win and then after this trip we’ll have a little bit of space over the couple weeks after that to get some practices in,” Fisher said. “I think we’ve gotten stagnant and kind of leveled off and we got to find a way to get better.”
Fisher and the Knicks (10-12) will embark on a three-game West Coast road trip, beginning with the Utah Jazz (9-9) Wednesday in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz are playing good basketball of late, coming of an impressive 122-199 overtime win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday who currently have the second best record in the Eastern Conference.
Utah will be on the second leg of a back-to-back as they are scheduled to face the Sacramento Kings tonight on the road. In the meantime, Fisher and his Knicks will have a day to recover and get ready for Wednesday’s showdown.
The game is slated to begin at 9 p.m. EST and will be aired on MSG.