NEW YORK, (Reuters) – The New York Knicks, led again by point guard Jeremy Lin, rained down three-pointers to gain the upper hand and beat NBA champion Dallas Mavericks 104-97 yesterday before a raucous crowd at Madison Square Garden.
Sharp-shooter Steve Novak scored 14 of New York’s first 15 points in the fourth quarter, including four three-pointers, and Lin supplied the finishing touches to end the Mavs’ six-game winning streak despite 34 points from Dirk Nowitzki.
Lin scored 28 points to lead the Knicks, whose seven-game winning streak was snapped Friday by the New Orleans Hornets, including the last two baskets that iced the New York victory. He also handed out 14 assists.
“It just seems the harder the moment, the better he shoots the ball and makes big plays,” said Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni.
“The thing you can’t teach is what he has inside his heart. You just can’t teach that. And he has it.”
Five other Knicks scored in double figures, benefitting from the passing by Lin.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle also became a fan of the 23-year-old Lin, who rose from obscurity to lead New York to eight wins in nine games to bring their record to 16-16.
“He played terrific,” Carlisle said about the NBA’s only Taiwanese-American player. “You have to give him credit, he’s playing great.”
Dallas slipped to 20-12 for the season.
It was a game of shifting momentum, with each team taking its turn to dominate before New York surged to victory.
In the first quarter, the Knicks received a shot of energy from newly acquired J.R. Smith, signed as a free agent after a stint in the Chinese Basketball Association during the NBA lockout.
Smith, who arrived in New York on Saturday, was inserted into the lineup midway through the first quarter and hit a trio of three-pointers and fed Lin for another three-pointer in a 17-0 run that turned an 18-13 deficit into a 30-18 lead.
Nowitzki then spearheaded a Mavericks charge at the start of the second quarter, a 14-2 run that tied the score 34-34.
In the fourth quarter, Nowitzki helped Dallas respond again after Novak’s three-point spree, using his well known touch from the outside and determined drives to the hoop.