Mavericks Projected Starting Line-Up:
PG: Jason Kidd
SG: Vince Carter
SF: Shawn Marion
PF: Dirk Nowitzki
C: Ian Mahinmi
Key Reserves: Lamar Odom, Jason Terry
The New York Knicks are coming off a tough loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday and hope to turn the tides in this game in Dallas. The Knicks could not contain the impressive Rajon Rondo in Boston, but luckily, these Mavericks are essentially slow one-through-twelve and do not have a point guard like Rondo.
Still, the Mavericks have a Finals MVP and the entire team will surely want to avenge their loss a few weeks back in New York City. Dallas fell victim to 'Linsanity' and this time they would like to get rid of their bad memories from that night.
The Mavericks' front-court will present problems for the Knicks big men with their size and ability to pound the paint. Nowitzki can catch fire at any point of the game and after the Mavs' disappointing loss to the Thunder, expect him to be more assertive with the ball in his hands. After a fairly slow start to the season, Nowitzki has stepped his game up and has brought his points per game average to close to 20. Still, the Mavericks will be short-handed on the front line as Brendan Haywood will likely miss the game with an ankle injury. In that case, Tyson Chandler (who will be receiving his championship ring prior to the game) should have a field day on Mahinmi. As for Shawn Marion, he is a capable scorer for the Mavs, but his biggest asset is his defense. If the Knicks want to come out with a win, Carmelo Anthony has to make sure he can dissect the defense and get by the capable Marion.
The Knicks no doubt have the upper hand in the backcourt, as the Mavericks will be starting two fairly old guards. Jason Kidd and Vince Carter are well past their prime, but can at times be very effective on the court. Kidd is a savvy veteran guard and will surely take advantage of Lin when he has the opportunity. Although Kidd's statistics are no longer impressive, he can influence the game without putting up all-star numbers. Vince Carter has the ability to be a big-time scorer for the Mavericks and when the offense runs through him, Dallas is a very dangerous team.
Keys to Success:
Speed the pace of the game: The Mavericks will have trouble running up-and-down the court, so the Knicks must use their speed to their advantage. The offense runs best with speed, so the key to beating the Mavs is to get into the open-court.
Stoudemire must be an All-Star: Dallas' front-court will be a little banged up today, but it can still hurt the Knicks with its effective rebounding. Amar'e Stoudemire needs to match Nowitzki's play and has to become an all-star player for the Knicks. Anthony and Lin will get their shots, but the Knicks are at their best when Stoudemire is on his game.