DALLAS -- When the Dallas Mavericks faced the Knicks in New York on Nov. 9, they did so without Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion.
The Knicks won the game, 104-94.
Nowitzki, of course, hasn't played all season because of arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Marion missed the game against the Knicks with a sprained left medial collateral ligament.
The Mavs truly believe if Marion had been able to play in that game, they might have gotten out of Madison Square Garden with a victory.
Carmelo Anthony tallied a game-high 31 points in the contest for the Knicks. Marion, meanwhile, usually has been able to play some lock-down defense on Anthony.
"Obviously he's a good defensive player,'' coach Rick Carlisle said of Marion. "The last game we had (rookie Jae) Crowder starting on (Anthony), and that's very challenging for a young guy like that.
"Crowder learned a lot in a short period of time, but we want to do better from the start of the game.''
Anthony converted 10-of-22 baskets in that earlier game against the Mavs, and got to the free throw line 14 times.
"We've got to guard him better as a team,'' Carlisle said. "Our positioning wasn't good the last game, our individual positioning wasn't where it needed to be.
"Consequently our help (defense) didn't get there.''
The Knicks come into American Airlines Center at 7:30 tonight with the NBA's best record at 8-1. Anthony, meanwhile, is fourth in the league in scoring at 24.2 points per game and has looked very polished
"Right now he may be the best player in the game if you look at their record and the stats that he's putting up and all that kind of stuff,'' Carlisle said. "He's going to be an MVP candidate, for sure, if New York keeps winning, and it appears that they're going to do that kind of thing.''
-- Dwain Price
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