Mavs cruise past listless Knicks 108-79

DALLAS (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 points in 22 minutes, then was among four starters who got to take the last quarter off as the Dallas Mavericks polished off a 108-79 victory over the listless New York Knicks on Monday night.

Wins don’t get much easier than this, with the Mavericks scoring 32 points in the first quarter and the Knicks scoring 31 in the first half.

New York trailed by as many as 28 before intermission, then got within 14 points early in the third quarter. Dallas pulled away soon after for its second straight win and a 6-5 record since Jason Kidd arrived.

Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford, New York’s top two scorers, returned to the lineup but it hardly mattered. The Knicks made only one of 13 shots to start the first quarter, then did it again to start the second quarter, setting the tone for their seventh straight loss.

Randolph, who’d missed the last five games because of a bruised foot and personal reasons, scored 21 points. Crawford, who missed only one game because of a bruised right hand, had 13 points. David Lee scored 14.

This was the Mavericks’ second of five straight games against teams with losing records, a stretch that gives them a much-needed chance to get more comfortable with Kidd and other changes forced by a massive trade a few weeks ago. So far, so good, as Dallas hasn’t trailed in either game. The Mavericks also have had their two stingiest first halves, giving up 34 to New Jersey on Saturday night, then trimming it by three.

Another experiment is Jerry Stackhouse starting and Jason Terry coming off the bench. Terry scored 18 points in this one, after Stackhouse scored 20 against the Nets. Terry also had a nifty behind-the-back feed to Brandon Bass for a powerful dunk.

Kidd was Dallas’ only starter to play in the fourth quarter, and he logged only 100 seconds. He finished with eight points, nine assists and five rebounds. Josh Howard scored 14 points and Stackhouse had eight.

Nowitzki became Dallas’ franchise scoring leader the previous game, then started padding his lead with the first two baskets of this game, a spinning bank shot and a 3-pointer in transition. The Mavericks had 17 fast-break points in the first quarter, while the Knicks had 15 total points.