New York Knicks vs. Dallas Mavericks: Kristaps Porzingis and Dirk Nowitzki are both struggling
Dec 7, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) shoots over Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Dallas Mavericks won 104-97. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki and his basketball doppelganger New York Knicks‘ Kristaps Porzingis are struggling before Wednesday’s game.

  • New York Knicks (20-26)
  • Dallas Mavericks (15-29)
  • American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
  • Wednesday, Jan. 25, 8:30 p.m. ET on MSG Network

After a tremendous win Monday against the Indiana Pacers, the New York Knicks will attempt to win back to back games for the first time since consecutive victories on Dec. 20, and 22. They couldn’t ask for a much better opponent.

The Dallas Mavericks are having the worst season of the Dirk Nowitzki era, and the Knicks have already beaten them once. Granted that was without the future Hall of Famer, but he hasn’t been himself this season anyway. Nowitzki, 38, is finally starting to show signs of his age.

Nowitzki is shooting a career-low from the field (.387) and posting his lowest points per game average (13.0) and PER (14.7) since his rookie season.

Dirk’s basketball doppelganger is struggling recently too even if it’s for a different reason. Kristaps Porzingis has struggled with his shot since his Achilles injury began flaring up. After a hot start, the sophomore has cooled off recently.

The 21-year-old was incredible during his first 25 games posting averages of 34.5 minutes, 20.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 2.2 three-pointers made on a crazy slash line of .459/.399/.787.

Things have completely fallen off in January when he’s played only seven games and posted averages of 13.3 points and 3.7 rebounds while shooting just 31.3 percent from downtown.

According to Al Iannazzone of Newsday, Porzingis had a private film session with head coach Jeff Hornacek to try and work the kinks out of his struggling shot.

“I watched right after the game, and now he just wanted to go over my shot again. I had open looks. It’s just sometimes when I have that much space my shot is flat. When I have a defender running at me, that’s when I get it up. And that’s when it goes in.”

Porzingis claims the slump isn’t a result of his injury.

“It’s not bothering me at all. I have to be smart about the way I warm up. I don’t want to get that pinch again so just really step by step every time.”

This will be the second matchup between the two European stars. After the first, a Dallas win last season, Nowitzki turned heads when he told reporters that Porzingis was, “Way better than [he] was at 20.”

KP had just dropped 28 points on 13-of-18 shooting overall and 2-of-4 from three-point range in the loss, so Dirk couldn’t help but be impressed by the rookie.

Porzingis’ second career game against Dallas (sans Nowitzki) earlier this season was notable for Porzingis busting out Nowitzki’s signature move. The sophomore then stared down the veteran who was seated on the bench.

Per Iannazzone, Porzingis spoke about the moment.

“It was so random. I didn’t even think about that move. It just kind of happened. I didn’t want to look at him. But for that moment I checked if he was looking at me, and I looked at him. It was fun.”

With Nowitzki and Porzingis slated to play on Wednesday, it should be fun regardless of the team’s respective records.

 

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