Deron Williams was well on his way to another outstanding game against the New York Knicks, but the night ended prematurely, as the Dallas Mavericks point guard exited just before halftime with a sprained left big toe.
D-Will tallied seven points and seven assists and had just hit a 3-pointer to put the Mavs up seven in the final minute of the first half. But he came up limping after the shot and did not return. The team announced Thursday that he will not travel to the team’s Jan. 26 meeting with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In Deron’s absence, the Mavs kept rolling, topping the Knicks 103-95.
“Guys played hard. We were kind of in a swarming mode,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said after the victory.
In his 26th career meeting with the Knicks, Deron started strong, dishing to Dirk Nowitzki for Dallas’ first points. He sent another assist to Dirk before distributing two to Seth Curry, including one on a 3-pointer. Finally, D-Will provided his fifth assist of the opening quarter on a bucket by Harrison Barnes.
No. 8 checked out midway through the quarter and checked back in late, in time to score his team’s final basket of the period. Dallas led 30-25 after one.
D-Will’s sixth and seventh assists went out to Nowitzki. Deron connected on a long two in the second before canning his only trifecta of the night to give the Mavs a 52-45 lead. He checked out just 12 seconds after hitting that shot and did not return.
The Mavs led 52-51 at the half and kept on the gas despite being shorthanded. Barnes, Curry and Nowitzki were the biggest offensive forces with No. 8 out. Barnes led the Mavs with 23 points, Curry turned in 20 and Nowitzki tallied 19.
The contest was neck-and-neck until a Dallas run midway through the fourth. Barnes, Curry and guard Pierre Jackson combined for an 8-0 spurt to put the Mavs up nine. The Knicks never came within one possession the rest of the night.
“That is the story of our season right now,” Curry said. “Guys are going down so everybody is stepping up.”
The Mavs will need another concerted team effort when they complete a back-to-back Thursday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT.
Dallas has the two following days off before another key test away from home Sunday, Jan. 29 at the San Antonio Spurs.