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'Back Down to Earth': Mavs Can't Keep Streak Alive, Fall to Knicks, 108-85

The Dallas Mavericks saw their win streak end at Madison Square Garden on Friday night in a 108-85 loss to the New York Knicks.

After flying high in the previous six games, the Dallas Mavericks entered Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night with hopes of extending their win streak to seven games. Unfortunately for Dallas, though, all things that go up must come down, and the Mavs fell back down to earth hard in a 108-85 loss to the New York Knicks.

Luka Doncic led the Mavs in this one, putting up 21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists while shooing just 8-of-23 from the field and 1-of-9 from deep. Although he had his moments in the first half, Doncic went cold for the majority of the third and fourth quarters after tweaking his back.

"This game, I played like a word I can't say," said Doncic. "Terrible. ... It's a long season, there are going to be ups and downs. We just have to be consistent."

Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. were the only other Mavericks to join Doncic in double figures with 14 and 13 points respectively. Brunson shot 6-of-12 from the field while adding seven rebounds and six assists. Hardaway Jr. shot 5-of-11 from the field despite missing six of his seven three-point attempts.

"It's been a little bit of a roller coaster," said Brunson of the Mavs' season. "We've had ups, we've had downs. Our downs have been mostly COVID(-related, though). ... I think we played down to their pace tonight."

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That last statement by Brunson is true, but only by a technicality, as the Mavs are 29th this season in pace while the Knicks are 30th. Dallas might have played down to the Knicks, but they didn't have to play down too far.

The biggest difference in this game was three-point shooting and rebounding. The Knicks shot 12-of-27 (44.4 percent) from deep, while the Mavs shot just 8-of-37 (21.6 percent). New York out-rebounded Dallas by a 54-39 margin.

"They played really physically in general," said Mavs assistant coach Sean Sweeney, who is still filling in for head coach Jason Kidd while he's in COVID protocols. "Our job is to re-group, take tomorrow to work on our game and work on ourselves."

RJ Barrett led the Knicks with 32 points while shooting 13-of-22 from the field. Barrett became the youngest Knicks player to have back-to-back 30-point games. Dallas native Julius Randle nearly notched a triple double, finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.

Kristaps Porzingis, who was dealt to the Mavs by the Knicks nearly three years ago, wasn't able to play against his former team due to being in the NBA's health and safety protocols. The Mavs had played well despite Porzingis' absence, but maybe his upcoming return to action will provide an extra boost for Dallas.

Next up, the Mavs have a late Friday night date with the red-hot Memphis Grizzlies, who have won 10 games in a row. That streak could reach 11 games by Friday, as Memphis takes on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night. Perhaps the Mavs can capture a bounce-back win with the Grizzlies being on a back-to-back.