NEW YORK -- Tyson Chandler believes the Mavericks could have repeated as champions if the team’s core wasn’t blown up before last season, a take Mark Cuban responded to with what he does best: sarcasm.
“T.C.’s a smart guy,” Cuban said while entertaining the Big Apple media horde before Friday night’s game at Madison Square Garden. “I’m sure he’ll have a future as a general manager.”
Chandler got the last word, at least in the Knicks’ win over the Mavericks.
The athletic big man’s putback, and-1 slam pretty much put the exclamation point on the Knicks’ win. After a Carmelo Anthony miss in traffic, Chandler soared above the crowd to snatch the ball and throw it down hard with two hands despite being hacked by Jae Crowder.
Chandler followed that play, which pushed the Knicks’ lead to 10 points midway through the fourth quarter, by pounding his chest and screaming. If Cuban was still booing Chandler and fellow Mavs champion-turned-Knick Jason Kidd, it was drowned out by the deafening roars of the sellout crowd.
“I enjoy his boos,” Chandler told reporters. “I enjoy all those antics and anything else that he wants to do.”
As Mavs fans know, Chandler’s impact can’t just be measured by his line in the box score, although 11 points and nine rebounds aren’t bad. His defensive presence, especially in pick-and-roll situations, had a lot to do with the Mavs’ miserable second half, when Dallas scored 37 points on 35.1 percent shooting and committed 13 turnovers. The Knicks outscored the Mavs by 14 in Chandler’s 30 minutes on the floor.
And then there are the intangibles.
“When he’s healthy, he’s a difference maker,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “He was huge for us in the one year that we had him. He’s really turned this (Knicks) franchise around with his enthusiasm and exuberance, not to mention his abilities on the court. He’s one of the reason they’re a contender.”
Chandler was also a big reason the Mavs left New York with a loss.
A few more notes from the Mavs’ second loss of the season:
1. Missing Matrix: This had to be hard for Shawn Marion to watch from home while he nurses the sprained MCL in his left knee that will sideline him until at least next week.
The Mavs couldn’t stop Anthony, who scored 31 points on 10-of-22 shooting. Anthony has also had some big nights against Marion over the years, but the Matrix got the best of Melo the two times they’ve both been healthy for Mavs-Knicks meetings. Anthony scored a total of only 24 points on 7-of-27 shooting in those two games, both Mavs wins.
Anthony did a lot of his damage against Crowder and Dahntay Jones, both 6-foot-6, with his back to the basket. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Anthony was 5-of-8 from the floor against post-ups, something the 6-foot-7, long-armed Marion would be better equipped to defend.
Crowder, the second-round steal, really looked like a rookie for the first time against the Knicks. He had seven points, five fouls, four turnovers and three rebounds in 30 minutes.
“Having Trix out really hurt us,” Mavs center Chris Kaman said. “He’s a good-sized 3 man. He can guard some of those guys at the 3. It’s unfortunate that he’s injured, but it’s also part of basketball. Hopefully he’ll be able to get back soon.”
2. Carter hurts hip: Vince Carter started limping before his pretty fadeaway even hit the net in the final minute of the third quarter.
“When I did the stepback and I went to push off, I felt just a pull and a pop,” Carter said. “It tightened up instantly. It felt kind of weird.”
Carter, who faded away to avoid a collision with fellow NBA geezer Kidd, left the game during the next dead ball. He returned later and finished with 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting and expects to be available for the butt end of the back-to-back Saturday in Charlotte, although he’s a bit concerned about how his hip will feel when he wakes up.
“I’m planning on playing,” Carter said. “I don’t care what they say. We’re already down some bodies. Gotta go.”
3. Roddy B. returns: Backup guard Rodrigue Beaubois had five points on 2-of-7 shooting, three rebounds, an assist and a steal in his return after a three-game absence due to a sprained ankle.
“We’re glad that he got out on the court and was able to be effective at times and get some of his conditioning back,” Carlisle said. “It’s going to be a process getting him back to 100 percent.”