Kyle O'Quinn, New York Knicks
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks held a lead for nearly the entire game, but they failed to put away the Dallas Mavericks and nearly let a win slip through their fingers. 

  • New York Knicks 100 (19-21)
  • Dallas Mavericks 96 (13-28)
  • NBA, Final, Box Score
  • American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

For a vast majority of this game, the New York Knicks held a lead. Unfortunately, they could never extend the lead into double digits for long. They never quite took control of this game and they let the Mavericks hang around long enough to make things interesting.

The Knicks held a 12-point fourth quarter lead, but squandered that and allowed the Mavs to tie the game up with a minute left to play.

Jarrett Jack and Courtney Lee came up in the clutch. Jack, who is fresh off getting his contract guaranteed, hit a floater to take a lead that they would hold this time. Courtney Lee hit four free throws late to salt the game away. Courtney Lee has hit 43 consecutive free throws and is the NBA leader in free throw percentage.

Putting teams away, especially on the road, has been a problem for the Knicks. They are sure to be happy with the victory, but they are going to have to learn how to handle these types of games better.

Kristaps Porzingis had a decent night with a game-high 29 points along with eight rebounds. He started off hot, going five-for-seven shooting in the first quarter, but eventually cooled off. Following his impressive first quarter, he was 4-for-18 from the field. There were some positives, but he’s going to want to seriously improve on those numbers.

Enes Kanter was huge on the glass tonight. He established himself on the inside on both ends of the floor. He finished the night with 13 points and 18 rebounds, 7 of which came on the offensive end.

There were positives seen from two key bench players in Frank Ntilikina and Kyle O’Quinn. Ntilikina contributed in a number of ways. He chipped in with seven points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two impressive blocks. He was facing off against Dennis Smith Jr. who was drafted one slot behind Ntilikina in the 2017 NBA Draft. O’Quinn had a workman-like double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

It wasn’t exactly pretty, but a win is a win. Despite nearly blowing a lead and losing their fourth straight game, the Knicks buckled down late and held off the Mavericks. The schedule is going to be unforgiving in January so the Knicks can’t take anything for granted.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.