The New York Knicks treated their lone loss of the season like a blip on the radar and look to continue their stellar start Wednesday night when they head to Dallas to take on the Mavericks.
Since their loss Friday night to the Memphis Grizzlies, the only blemish on their record, the Knicks have won two in a row, including a home win over the Indiana Pacers and a road victory against the New Orleans Hornets.
This is the third time in team history the Knicks started 8-1. The other two instances were the 1969-70 season and the 1972-73 season. Not so coincidentally, the Knicks won titles those two seasons.
On Tuesday night, Carmelo Anthony poured in 19 points in the first quarter and finished with 29 for the game.
"I made a couple shots," said Anthony. "It was good to get it going early. Anytime you can start off on the road like that, in the first quarter like that, it gives us a lot of confidence."
Raymond Felton, Ronnie Brewer and J.R. Smith all scored in double-figures. The Knicks crushed the Anthony Davis-less Hornets on the boards to the tune of 49-36.
The Knicks are the best defense in the NBA, holding opponents to almost 89 ppg. They also score, ranking sixth in the league with 100.67 ppg.
Just ahead of the Knicks in scoring are the Mavericks.
They average slightly more than Knicks each night. O.J. Mayo leads four Mavs in double-figures in scoring and ranks seventh in the league with a 21.8 ppg average.
Mayo scored all 11 Dallas points in an overtime loss at home to the Golden State Warriors Monday night, 105-101. Mayo finished with 27 and Chris Kaman added a double-double with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
"We take it a game at a time, and tonight was a game we felt we should have had with them coming off a back-to-back and the third game in four nights. And they had more energy and outplayed us," said Mayo.
Things won't get better for the Mavs on the injury front anytime soon. Future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki spoke to the media after practice on Tuesday and said he's not going to be back from athroscopic knee surgery in the original time frame of six weeks.
"I think I'm still about a couple - two weeks - out before even getting on the court - start working out, start running, start shooting," Nowitzki said. So, that would actually put me right at about six weeks starting to get on the court. By that point, I'm assuming I need a good week or two to get in halfway decent playing shape - running, shooting and doing all sorts of stuff."
The Mavericks, playing their fourth in a five-game homestand, lost to the Knicks on Nov. 9 in Madison Square Garden, but are 11-1 in their last 12 in Dallas against the Knicks.