New York Knicks Stat Monkey Brief: Knicks/Mavericks (11/21/12)
“A 6’4” guard…from Cal…Jason Kidd…” BOOOOOOOOOOO!
Jason Kidd’s reception in pre-game intros is seemingly the main storyline heading into tonight’s matchup between the 8-1 Knicks and the 6-6 Mavericks. Specifically, Mark Cuban views Kidd as disloyal for signing with the Knicks this summer and plans to make his opinion heard tonight, regardless of Kidd’s contributions to the only world championship in Mavericks history.
Despite these potential histrionics, there will still be a game to play tonight. And since I’ve never seen a game won or lost before the opening tip, I’d rather focus on other keys to the game.
Dallas’s greatest statistical drop from last season to this season has occurred in defensive rebounding rate. The 2011-12 Mavericks came away with 76.8% of available defensive rebounds, the fifth-best rate in the league, while this year’s Mavs are 28th with only a 69.8% rate. Much of this drop-off can be attributed to Dirk Nowitzki’s absence. Dirk led the Mavs last year with 373 defensive boards, tying him with Marcus Camby for the 22nd most in the NBA. In addition to Dirk and his 20% defensive rebounding rate, Yi Jianlian and Lamar Odom were in the team’s top three last year with 20.3% and 18.7% defensive rebounding rates, respectively. Both Yi and Lamar are playing elsewhere, and this season’s Mavs have yet to pick up the slack.
The Knicks are far from stellar in terms of offensive rebounding, ranked 23rd with a 24.1% rate, but Tyson Chandler, Carmelo, and company have potential for success on the offensive boards tonight.
The Knicks and Mavs are polar opposites in terms of pace. The Mavs have the league’s sixth highest pace factor, averaging about 93.7 possessions per 48 minutes, while the Knicks are 28th with an 89.7 pace factor. When these teams met on November 9th, the pace factor was 98.0, the only game this year in which the Knicks’ pace factor exceeded 91. Although more consistent with the Mavs’ style of play, this torrid pace was to the Knicks’ advantage, as they outscored the Mavs by 12 in the second half en route to a 10-point win.
The Knicks have also shown the ability to win at a snail’s pace, as they did last night in New Orleans, winning by 22 while maintaining a pace factor of 85.6. So expect the Knicks to be comfortable tonight regardless of the game’s tempo.
Home Court Advantage
The Mavs have been a far superior team at home this season. At American Airlines Center, their record is 4-2, and they’re averaging 5.7 more points and 1.5 fewer turnovers than their season averages. Meanwhile, the Knicks’ are playing a road game for the second consecutive night, which was the scenario they faced when they lost their lone game thus far – last Friday in Memphis. So although the Mavs are merely a .500 team, don’t be surprised for them to provide a tough test for the Knicks tonight in Dallas.