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 AmericanAirlines Center.
With Randle’s wife, Kendra, young son, Kyden, and Randle’s mother sitting courtside, the Knicks rolled in Randle’s hometown.
Randle, who scored 46 points in the Sacramento win 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 bricked their way to a 6-of-43 3-point embarrassment.
All five Knicks starters hit double figures as they moved to 28-38 and ended Dallas’ five-game winning streak.
After beating the Clippers, Kings and Mavericks, the Knicks moved 3 ½ games out of a play-in spot as the Knicks slowly try to change the narrative of this disappointing season.
The Knicks are 3 ½ games behind Atlanta and Charlotte, which are tied for ninth place. RJ Barrett added 18 points and four assists, mostly showing out in the first half.
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.
It wasn’t until ex-Net Spencer Dinwiddie drilled one with 46 seconds left in the half that the Mavericks were off the historic schneid.
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 third. Doncic finished with a soft 31 points.
But Randle became a hard-driving powerhouse, getting to the rim for two buckets, including a nifty reverse layup. The Knicks maintained an 83-65 lead entering the final period.
With the Knicks scoring inside, outside and in-between, they soared to a 61-34 lead at intermission. The Knicks’ defense was ferocious and the longest-made shot by Dallas until 1:40 left in the half was from 11 feet out.
Barrett feasted — with 14 first-half points — barreling to the basket with even more force than usual. Center Mitchell Robinson was getting his array of thunderous putbacks, including his catch of a four-foot wide airball by Miles McBride that he rammed down. Robinson was 4 for 4 in the half and wound up with 11 points.
Randle was content to distribute, notching four assists. His lone basket — a 3-pointer late in the second quarter — gave the Knicks their biggest lead at 28 points, 53-25.
One of Randle’s assists came when he tumbled to the floor for a loose ball and shoveled the ball while prone to Evan Fournier for a corner 3. Randle got up to his feet and just shook his head, laughing. Everything went right as owner Mark Cuban and consultant Dirk Nowitzki watched in horror. To Cuban’s credit, he was still yapping at the officials in the final minutes.
Their superstar, Doncic, got knocked to the floor a couple of times and shot just 4 of 12 by intermission, spending a lot of time, too, nagging the officials, finally adding another technical to his league-high total.
It was a rout from the start — a 31-17 Knicks lead after one quarter. That was the largest first-quarter shortage the Mavericks have faced this season and the Knicks didn’t take their foot off the army tank’s gas pedal. The Knicks, the worst-shooting team in the league from the free-throw line, even hit from the charity stripe in the first half (12 of 14).
Ex-Knick Reggie Bullock, who looked like he saw a ghost in facing the team he left in August, was shaky going 0 for 8 — all from 3-point land — and 0 for 2 from the line (both technicals).