Dallas Mavericks (13-8) vs New York Knicks (6-13)
7:30p.m. ET live on MSG

Im your host Jazzy Jeff and its time to take a look at my pregame strategy for a difficult matchup against one of the best teams in the West. Dallas is coming off an impressive 125-117 victory over the Utah Jazz. Josh Howard led the way with 47 points and 10 rebounds, maybe the best player on the Mavericks even ahead of last years MVP Dirk Nowitzki. The Knicks will have to play a near-perfect game if they want to win.

Lets take a look at the starting lineups:

Dallas Mavericks

pg = Devin Harris
sg = Jason Terry
sf = Josh Howard
pf = Dirk Nowitzki
C = Erick Dampier

New York Knicks

Point Guard - Stephon Marbury
Shooting Guard - Jamal Crawford
Small Forward - Quentin Richardson
Power Forward - Zach Randolph

Center - Eddy Curry

What do the Knicks need to do to win?

  • Defend the perimeter: Dallas has 3 or 4 guys who can hit 3's all night so the Knicks need to contest those shots.
  • Play half court game: This will protect the Knicks from falling behind real big, a slower pace will not allow Mavs to put points on board in a hurry.
  • Play hard defense: The Mavs turn the ball over more then the Knicks, they need to pressure on defense and try to force turnovers

Lets take a look at each matchup:

Stephon Marbury vs Devin Harris

Two solid point guards going head to head, They both are averaging similar numbers. I think Marbury can outplay Harris assuming hes gotten some rest, Harris does not do anything special but he does what he needs to do. He's a good defender, but Marbury is stronger and when hes determined to get to the hoop, few point guards can get in his way. Stephon needs to outplay Harris. There will be matchup problems for the Knicks at other positions so Marbury needs to outplay Harris. One other note, Devin Harris is only shooting 23% from downtown.

Jamal Crawford vs Jason Terry

Jason Terry is small, but quick. He'll be a tough cover for Jamal Crawford because of his speed. He's shooting about 47 percent from behind the stripe so Crawford needs to at least get a hand in his face. Most likely, Crawford will not bring anything defensively so he needs to take advantage of a smaller opponent on offense. Jamal needs to be efficient on offense, take care of the ball, and look to pass. I would like to see him attack the hoop and shoot a better percentage then normal. I'm giving him the pass on defense as long as he is productive on offense.

Quentin Richardson vs Josh Howard

If Josh Howard can score 47 points against Andre Kirilenko, the Knicks could have a big problem tomorrow night. Q-Rich will have to do his best to stay in front of Howard and contest every single one of his shots. He needs to give it 100% and nothing less. If Richardson cannot get anything going on offense, he needs to stop shooting and put all his focus on defense and rebounding. Howard is shooting almost 50% from the field and he will be a tough player to stop.

Zach Randolph vs Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki is one of the best powerforwards in the league. He scores, rebounds, passes, and hes not a bad defender averaging a block a game. Dirk plays with alot of heart and passion. He will be a tough cover for Zach because of his inside-outside game. Z-Bo needs to take away Dirks inside game by using his strength advantage. Nowitzki should not be able to back down Zach, but things don't always happen the way they are supposed to.

Eddy Curry vs Erick Dampier

Curry will have a tough time on offense so for the 4th straight game its another good oppertunity for Curry to work on his defense and rebounding. DeSagana Diop is a good backup center who will also give Curry a tough time. Dampier might be even tougher then Dalembert because hes not only a good shotblocker but hes also stronger, which will allow him to hold his position better against Curry.

Knicks bench vs Mavs bench

Jerry Stackhouse, DeSagana Diop, Brandon Bass, and Trenton Hassel are the biggest names off of Dallas's bench. Brandon Bass is a young, talented player who is a very good defender. Hassel is also capable of slowing down a good scorer, and Stackhouse can quickly put some points on the board. Isiah needs to bring Lee and Balkmen into the game as soon as the starters start to look not interested. Instead of falling behind early, maybe the bench can bring their energy and keep the Knicks in the game.

This will be a tough game for the Knicks, but in my opinion Dallas is a very good team but they are overrated. They can score, but their defense and rebounding is average. The Knicks are capable of at least being a better rebounding team then they have shown, and they need to show it if they want to somehow beat Dallas and makeup for those 2 bad losses against Philadelphia.

Thanks for joining me and remember that you can catch the Knicks Monday night, 7:30p.m. on MSG.