Here are a few things to keep an eye on during Sunday night's Knicks-Mavs game:
Amazing Iman: Iman Shumpert looks like a new man in 2014. The third-year shooting guard has scored a combined 53 points in his past two games.
In the 12 games prior to that, Shumpert scored a total of 42 points.
Is this a blip on the radar or a sign that Shumpert's broken out of his shooting slump? In the past two games, Shumpert's hitting an other-worldly 70 percent of his shots and 85.7 percent from beyond the arc. He finished the 2013 calendar year shooting 35.9 percent from the floor and 30 percent from beyond the arc.
It's a small sample size, but the Knicks seem like a different team when Shumpert's scoring. It looks like Shumpert's scoring relieves some pressure off Anthony and forces defenses to rotate on another shooter, which can create further creases in a defense and driving lanes for Knicks guards.
Melo banged up? Anthony seemed a bit hobbled at times in the Knicks' loss to Houston. The game against the Rockets was Melo's second since missing three games with a left ankle injury.
He predicted he'd be playing in some degree of discomfort when he returned to the court, so it's worth keeping an eye on Anthony's ankle during the Dallas game. Melo's averaging 26 points on 46.5 shooting in 38 minutes over the past two games.
Sinking in the Atlantic: The Knicks are losing ground in the Atlantic. Toronto has won five straight and eight of its past 10.
New York woke up Sunday 6 1/2 games back of the first-place Raptors.
Sure, there are 50 games left. But the Knicks would be wise to make a dent in Toronto's lead sooner rather than later. Unless the Raptors start to tank, it will only get more difficult for the Knicks. According to John Hollinger's strength of schedule measurement, they've played the 18th toughest schedule to date. So it seems like the toughest part of their schedule is on the horizon.
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