Iman Shumpert, Knicks hold off Mavericks to complete 2-1 Texas trip

Iman Shumpert (21) and J.R. Smith (8) smile Iman Shumpert (21) and J.R. Smith (8) smile as they walk toward the bench after a timeout was called during the second half. (Jan. 5, 2014) Photo Credit: AP

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DALLAS -- Compared with his first two games on the Texas trip, Iman Shumpert was having a quiet night. But with the Knicks in dire need of a basket, he delivered not once but twice.

Shumpert hit a tough reverse layup, a three-pointer and two free throws in the final 1:37, helping the Knicks to an impressive 92-80 victory over the Mavericks Sunday night at American Airlines Center.

The Knicks (11-22) went 2-1 in Texas, and the one they lost was a two-point defeat in Houston. Shumpert played a huge part in the wins, including hitting two big shots late in Thursday's win in San Antonio.

"He's playing pretty well right now," coach Mike Woodson said. "He's in a nice groove. We want to try and keep him there because the way he's playing is a positive for our ballclub. He puts us in nice position to win games."

Shumpert, who scored 53 points in the first two games, had nine Sunday night, but seven came down the stretch after Dallas cut the Knicks' 19-point third-quarter lead and 14-point fourth-quarter cushion to six.

It was 82-76 when Shumpert drove past 7-footer Dirk Nowitzki on the baseline and hit a reverse layup with 1:37 left.

"I saw Dirk standing straight up," Shumpert said. "I think he thought I was going to settle for the three. After hitting a bunch of threes the last two games, I think that was the scouting report, so I just decided to drive."

A floater by Monta Ellis four seconds later made it 84-78, and the Knicks wasted two timeouts because they couldn't inbound the ball. When they finally did, Carmelo Anthony fed Shumpert for a three that made it 87-78 with 1:13 left. Shumpert hit two free throws with 48.3 seconds remaining to make it 90-78.

"At halftime, I was telling him how they were going to double-team," Anthony said. "It came to fruition at the end of the game. He got a three, he got a reverse layup. Those were two big plays for us."

Anthony started fast, scoring 15 points in the first quarter, but the Mavs keyed in on him and forced the other Knicks to beat them. He finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Anthony also contributed to the Knicks' strong defensive effort. He chased down Shawn Marion to block his layup in transition and had three steals. The 80 points were the fewest the Knicks have allowed since Jan. 11 against the Bulls.

"From the jump, man, I just wanted to be aggressive on both ends of the court, scramble and just be energetic on the defensive end," Anthony said.

Kenyon Martin, who was a game-time decision after missing the previous game with a sore left ankle, provided plenty of energy and defense in 29 minutes off the bench.

Martin stepped in for Tyson Chandler, who exited less than five minutes into the game with an upper respiratory infection, and had 14 points (7-for-8 shooting) and six rebounds. "It was a little tender," Martin said of the ankle. "But I knew that Tyson was under the weather so at that point, it was mind over matter."

Nowitzki's 18 points led Dallas (19-15), which had a chance to get within three with just over two minutes left, but Ellis missed a three. Then Shumpert took it to Nowitzki, helping the Knicks leave Texas with the win.

"I don't think nobody predicted that we were going to come on this trip and get two wins," Anthony said.

Added Woodson, "It was a good, successful trip."

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