The Knicks steady climb toward another 50-loss season continued on Tuesday with the help of a player they passed up in last June’s NBA Draft.
Rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. scored 17 points and Harrison Barnes led all scorers with 30 as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Knicks 110-97. Dirk Nowitzki, perhaps playing his final game at MSG, finished with 13 points in 21 minutes.
The Knicks fell to 24-44 overall and lost for the 16th time in their last 17 games. With Kristaps Porzingis returning to the Garden since suffering a season-ending knee injury last month, Michael Beasley scored 21 and Tim Hardaway added 19 before leaving the game in the final minute with an apparent ankle injury.
Frank Ntilikina, who was selected one player before the Mavs took Smith, finished with seven points on 2-for-8 shooting and eight assists.
The Mavericks, who will miss the playoffs for the second straight year, improved to 22-46. Last month, Mavs owner Mark Cuban was fined $600,000 by the NBA for saying the team would be better off losing games to improve their draft position.