NEW YORK (AP)—Jose Barea kept finding unimpeded paths on his drives to the basket, and two things became clear.
Dallas put on a shooting clinic that crushed the Knicks’ spirits, ignoring the absence of two starters and rolling to the biggest win in franchise history with a 128-78 victory Sunday.
“They took our heart out of us,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said.
Drew Gooden(notes) stepped into the lineup with 15 points and 18 rebounds, Dirk Nowitzki(notes) and Jason Terry(notes) each scored 20 points, and the Mavericks beat the Knicks for the eighth straight time. Dallas shot 58 percent from the field, was 12 of 22 from beyond the arc and 16 of 17 from the foul line.
It wasn’t hard once the Mavs had taken the fight out of the Knicks by turning their stops on one end into 3-pointers at the other.
“They were discouraged and you could tell early,” Terry said. “If you’re getting stops and then coming down and making buckets, that deflates a team. It’s human nature.
“At halftime we talked about coming back and doing what it was that got us the lead, and we were able to with no resistance. So when a team doesn’t give you much resistance, you’ve just got to continue to work and not fall into a lull.”
The Mavericks led by as much as 53 and outscored the Knicks 70-31 over the middle two quarters on the way to bettering their 149-104 victory over Golden State on Jan. 15, 1985.
The Knicks owned the previous largest lead in the NBA this season when they led Indiana by 48 points three weeks ago, but they offered no resistance on Sunday in the second-worst loss in franchise history. New York was 4 of 25 from 3-point range in its lowest-scoring game of the season.
Already leading by 16 at halftime, the Mavs made 15 of 19 shots (79 percent) in the third quarter. Nowitzki was only 1 of 6 for seven points at the half, then scored 13 in the third on 5-of-6 shooting before the starters took a seat for good.
Barea had at least two hardly contested layups in the third quarter as the Knicks appeared to simply stop trying. It was an embarrassing effort lowlighted when Jared Jeffries(notes) botched a layup on the break and the ball was batted off his head out of bounds on the rebound.
“We ran a play with J.J. and he got to the basket three times the exact way and nobody came over to help on him,” Gooden said, “and I think that was a sign of them kind of not laying down, but they just didn’t know what to do and we took advantage of that.”
Kidd left the team following Friday’s 92-81 loss in Philadelphia to return to Dallas, with owner Mark Cuban saying it was for a family reason. Erick Dampier(notes) was inactive with a left knee injury but was easily replaced by Gooden, who badly outplayed Knicks All-Star hopeful David Lee(notes).
Lee finished with 11 points on 5-of-16 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Knicks lost for the sixth time in eight games. It was the Knicks’ worst home loss, and trailed only their 162-100 loss at Syracuse on Dec. 25, 1960, for most lopsided in franchise history.
“We’re a better team than this,” said Jeffries, who had 14 points to lead the team in scoring for the first time in his four seasons in New York. “We’ve got to come out, give effort and have a little fight. We just didn’t have it.”
Dallas led 27-25 after one, with the Knicks staying close behind 12 points from Jeffries, the best quarter of his career. It was a six-point game midway through the second before Beaubois made two 3s and Nowitzki knocked down a jumper for his only field goal of the half to make it 50-36 with 3:15 left.
Dallas made eight of its first 11 attempts—the Knicks started 1 of 11— from behind the arc, including Terry’s that increased the lead to 17 with 1:20 remaining in the half. The Mavs led 59-43 at the break.
NOTES: The Knicks’ last win over Dallas was Jan. 11, 2006. … Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has a chance to coach the Western Conference in the All-Star game in Dallas. The coaches of the teams with the best records in each conference through next Sunday’s games earn the right, and with the Lakers’ Phil Jackson ineligible because he coached last year, Carlisle entered Sunday a game behind Denver’s George Karl. … Jeffries hadn’t had a double-digit quarter since scoring 11 points in the first period against Milwaukee on April 12, 2006, according to STATS LLC. … Knicks starting point guard Chris Duhon(notes) came in 4 of 33 from the field the previous six games, then missed his first four attempts.