DALLAS - In a rematch against the team that embarrassed them at the Garden by 50 points, the Knicks put up one of their most impressive victories of the season last night, beating the Mavericks, 128-94.
"Revenge," Al Harrington said, "is sweet."
The 34-point blowout win not only avenged a 128-78 loss on Jan. 28 and was the first Knicks win here since Dec. 16, 1999, but snapped Dallas' 13-game winning streak, which had tied the Cavaliers for the longest in the NBA this season.
After acquiring Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson from the Wizards before the trade deadline, the Mavs were viewed as possible championship contenders who could challenge the Lakers. Not last night, though.
"That was a really embarrassing night when we played them at home," David Lee said. "We just knew we had to bring our best ball or we knew we were going to get blown out."
Harrington said the Mavericks were "ripe for the picking" because of their winning streak. "When you've had that much success and you know the Knicks are coming in and you feel you can score 150 points on them in your sleep, that team didn't show up today," he added. "I guess we caught them by surprise."
Rookie Toney Douglas, who was a catalyst in a fourth-quarter rally that cut a 29-point deficit to five in Friday's loss to the Grizzlies in Memphis, was moved into the starting lineup and once again pushed the pace. He had 21 points and eight assists with zero turnovers - perhaps the most impressive number - in 31 minutes and played pressure defense against Jason Kidd.
Another of the team's intriguing young talents, Bill Walker, had a career-high 23 points to lead the Knicks (23-43), who had four players score at least 20 points. Wilson Chandler (22) and Harrington (20) were the others. Lee had 15 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.
The Knicks, who led by 37 points late in the fourth quarter, shot a sizzling 56.2 percent from the field in the game and shot 16-for-30 from three-point range. And here's a rarity: They held an opponent to fewer than 40 points in the paint (36).
Dirk Nowitzki had 20 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas (45-22) but shot 5-for-13 from the field (10-for-10 from the line) and looked frustrated most of the night against an aggressive double-team. Kidd finished with a very ordinary 15 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Were the Mavericks overlooking the lowly Knicks, as Harrington asserted? Were some of them already looking forward to getting out to Cowboys Stadium to catch the Pacquiao-Clottey fight?
"We've just got to chuck this one up and throw it out the window," Shawn Marion said.
The Mavs can afford to do just that. The Knicks wish they could have found this formula a few months ago.
"That's just been us all year," Harrington said. "When we can get a game where we can make shots and string them together, three or four stops at a time, we can beat anybody."