It was not the prettiest of games, but in the NBA, a win is a win, and the Mavericks(26-21) got another road win as they defeated the Knicks(24-25) 99-86 at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
Dallas was without their head coach Rick Carlisle, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday morning. However, Carlisle, who stayed back at the team hotel, revealed that he was fully vaccinated in January and believed the test was a false positive.
After the game, it was disclosed by assistant Jamahl Mosley that the 61-year-old Carlisle was cleared to travel to Washington with the team as they finish up their five-game road trip against the Wizards on Saturday night.
Without Carlisle, Mosley coached the game for the Mavericks, and he got an enormous effort out of Luka Doncic and the team on the defensive end.
Doncic finished with a game-high 26 points, including 13 points in the fourth quarter and Jalen Brunson added 15 points. For the Knicks, Immanuel Quickley led the way with 20 points.
Dallas had a workmanlike performance on Friday night, which got it done against the Knicks.
“Sometimes you’re going to win ugly,” Doncic said after the game. “You gotta win ugly. That means when things don’t go right, you gotta step up together and win the game. I think Maxi(Kleber) did an amazing job today with (Julius)Randle(5-20 FG, 14 points). He was tremendous.”
Dallas led by three going into the fourth quarter, but the Mavericks were able to push the lead to as much as 15 in the final quarter. The Knicks were held to 17 points in the quarter and shot 26% from the field, and according to Kristaps Porzingis, who scored 14 points on Friday night, the defense was the reason for the victory.
“In the end, defense won us the game,” he said.
Porzingis, who was selected by the Knicks with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and spent three seasons in New York before demanding a trade and being shipped to Dallas in 2019, was booed every time he touched the ball by the Garden faithful, which he expected.
“The reaction is what I expected again, of course,” Porzingis said. “I’m happy we got the win.”
The Mavericks have now won three straight, and it appears they may have found themselves at this point of the season, which is a good sign with 25 games left.