DALLAS — It’s now three in Big D.
Boosted by a first half of crushing dominance, the Knicks held on for their third straight victory on this six-game road trip and bludgeoned the red-hot Mavericks in a 107-77 stunner Wednesday at American Airlines Center.
With Julius Randle’s wife, Kendra, young son, Kyden, and his mother, Carolyn Kyles, sitting courtside, the Knicks rolled in Randle’s hometown.
Randle, who scored 46 points in Monday’s win in Sacramento and always plays well in Dallas, staved off the Mavericks’ second-half rally and poured in a team-high 26 points and five assists. He had 19 points after intermission.
Dallas was a disaster missing its first 19 3-point shots and fell behind by 28 points in the second quarter. The Mavericks (40-26) bricked their way to a 6 of 44 3-point embarrassment.
“It was crazy,” Randle said. “But we didn’t shoot that well from 3 either. It was probably our best defensive performance of the year.”
All five Knicks starters hit double figures as they moved to 28-38 and ended Dallas’ five-game winning streak. RJ Barrett added 18 points and four assists, mostly showing out in the first half.
After beating the Clippers, Kings and Mavericks, the Knicks are 3 ¹/₂ games behind Atlanta and Charlotte, which are tied for ninth place.
“Glass half-full,” Randle said when asked if this is a real Knicks’ run.
Being back in Dallas has always provided Randle a spark across his career. He playfully interrupted coach Tom Thibodeau’s postgame press conference so he could get on with his night with family. The Knicks were staying over in Dallas before heading to Memphis to finish this six-game road trip Friday.
“It’s automatic, man,” Randle said. “Playing in front of my mom, sister, obviously my wife and sons were here. But anytime I play in front of family, I always want to give them a good little show. I enjoy coming home. Sleeping in my own bed that’s not New York.”
It was an astounding collection of ineptitude for the Mavericks, who were 0-for-19 from 3 late in the first half. The NBA record is 22 3-point misses to start a game, and the 19 is a Mavericks record for futility.
“A lot of them were wide open,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “You make some, you miss some. And we missed a lot.”
Kidd, who had been interviewed for Thibodeau’s job, hugged Knicks president Leon Rose and top adviser William Wesley at midcourt after the buzzer. This time it was Knicks brass with the bigger smiles.
It wasn’t until ex-Net Spencer Dinwiddie drilled a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left in the half that the Mavericks were off the historic schneid.
“We were flying around, moving, helping each other,” Barrett said. “We were running them off the line. The next man was helping. It was great defensively overall.”
The Mavericks rallied in the third quarter and a Luka Doncic 3 over Taj Gibson brought the Mavericks within 74-60 with 2:52 left in the period. Doncic finished with a soft 31 points, as he got roughed up in facing about five different Knicks defenders.
But Randle became a hard-driving powerhouse, getting to the rim for two ferocious buckets, including a nifty reverse layup. The Knicks maintained an 83-65 lead entering the final period.
“Who doesn’t love playing at home,” Randle said.
The Knicks soared to a 61-34 lead at the intermission. The Knicks’ defense was rugged, and the longest-made shot by Dallas until 1:40 was left in the half was from 11 feet out.
Meanwhile, center Mitchell Robinson, playing sick, was getting his array of thunderous put-backs, including his catch of a 4-foot wide airball by Miles McBride that he rammed down. Robinson was 4-for-4 in the half and wound up with 11 points.
“These guys were rolling, they’re playing great basketball,” Thibodeau said of Dallas. “Sometimes you have nights like that. But I love the way our guys are coming out and the intensity that we’re playing with, and the togetherness on both sides of the ball.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism