After the 127-109 loss, the Knicks’ primary concern was Amar’e Stoudemire, who drew his 16th technical of the season.
If it stands, Stoudemire will draw an automatic one-game suspension and sit out Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. The official Bennett Salvatore called a double-technical on Stoudemire and Brendan Haywood three minutes into the second quarter when they became tied up beneath the basket and Stoudemire wrested himself free. Coach Mike D’Antoni soon picked up his own technical for arguing the call. But moments later, Stoudemire and Haywood were both laughing with Salvatore.
“Not even a shove,” Stoudemire said. “I got tangled up and kind of pulled out. That was it.
“We were actually laughing about it after that and the official pretty much agreed with us that it wasn’t bad, so hopefully I’ll get that rescinded.”
Players receive a one-game suspension and a $5,000 fine when they reach 16 technicals. They are fined $5,000 for every additional technical and suspended another game for every two after committing the 16th.
Stoudemire has attributed the bulk of his technical issues to the N.B.A.’s new policy of calling quicker technicals this season in an effort to curtail complaining. Orlando’s Dwight Howard sat out Monday’s loss to Portland after he became the first player to reach 16 technicals. Stoudemire, who has missed only one game this season because of an injury, has already had two technicals this season erased.
Both teams played after traveling a night earlier, and the Knicks (34-30) will receive a rare Friday off after being unable to stand up to one of the Western Conference’s best teams.
If Stoudemire cannot play Sunday, the Knicks anticipate a boost with the expected return of Chauncey Billups, who sat out his sixth straight game with a deep thigh bruise sustained in a collision with Howard.
“He’s close,” D’Antoni said. “On Sunday, I would think, but nothing is for sure until he can go.”
Dirk Nowtizki (23 points) did not have a stellar night and Tyson Chandler was saddled with foul trouble, but the Mavericks benefited from effective performances from Shawn Marion, Rodrigue Beaubois and even Corey Brewer, who the Knicks recently waived before he made an appearance with the team.
Carmelo Anthony had a season-high 42 points when he played against Dallas in one of his last games for Denver last month, but he scored 18 points on Thursday. Stoudemire rallied from a slow start and ended with 36 points and 7 rebounds.
“I think they are very compatible,” D’Antoni said. “I think they enjoy it. You can see them working together and moving the ball. I think their games can blend in without one stepping on the other’s toes.”
“To be honest with you, it takes the pressure off because you’ve just got to get the ball in their hands,” D’Antoni added. “It’s not like you’ve got to go draw a play up that completely frees them up. They’ll go one on one. You just want to try to get them where they need to be and try not to mess it up. Try to get them the ball and let them do what they do.”
That mind-set was evident in the conclusion of Wednesday’s win in Memphis over the Grizzles. Instead of calling a timeout before their final possession, D’Antoni allowed Anthony and Stoudemire to maneuver freely. Anthony sank the game-winning shot from the baseline with half of a second left for a 110-108 victory.
There were no such heroics Thursday. Stoudemire and Anthony each struggled early in separate ways. Anthony collected two quick fouls and Stoudemire missed 6 of his first 7 shots. An early Dallas run turned into a nightlong rout and Dallas scored a season-high 72 points in the first half. Despite the Knicks’ reconfiguring with last month’s blockbuster trade, the meeting between the two teams played to familiar fashion. Dallas beat the Knicks for the 17th time in 19 games.
“Mavericks, Boston, we can go down the list,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t think that’s a claim to fame. I have a different team out there.”
The Dallas owner Mark Cuban said he was not necessarily happy that Carmelo Anthony is out of the Western Conference because he said the Nuggets improved themselves in the deal. “I think they hit a home run,” Cuban said. In the deal, the Nuggets received Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov from the Knicks. Denver entered Thursday at 5-2 since the trade. “That’s cool,” Anthony said when told of Cuban’s remarks. “I’m pretty sure Cuban is happy that I’m out the West and I’m pretty sure if I would had came here, he would have got the better end of the deal.” … Amar’e Stoudemire sustained a stinger in his right shoulder and left the game for about a minute in the first quarter. … The Knicks wore “Nueva York” jerseys and Dallas donned “Los Mavs” uniforms as part of the N.B.A.’s Latin night.