Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points to lead the Dallas Mavericks over the New York Knicks 127-109 on Thursday. But the real victory in this match-up was defense, as Shawn Marion started at small forward to handle Carmelo Anthony. And handle he did: 'Melo scored 18 points on 5-15 shooting. That's not terrible output from Anthony, who augmented the poor shooting by getting to the line for seven free throws (all made). But it's below his standard, and Marion deserves credit.
The Mavericks could not, however, stop Amar'e Stoudemire, who ended up with 36 points on 12-27 shooting. With Chauncey Billups still out, New York got quite a bit out of the guard tandem of Landry Fields and Toney Douglas, who combined for 37 points on 12-21 shooting. But Dallas scored at will while the Knicks were tripped up enough to create the margin the Mavericks needed.
Dallas was in control from the outset. Rodrigue Beaubois opened the match hot, and scored 14 points despite playing just 20 minutes. Jason Terry was the star of the second, with 11 points on 5-8 shooting. But Nowitzki closed it out, scoring 17 in the second half to keep the Knicks at bay.