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Game 52: Mavs at Celtics presented-by-bbva-2 Subscribe via RSS

Mavericks vs. Celtics

Dirk Nowitzki (20 points, five rebounds) leads the Mavericks over the Celtics 102-91 on Sunday.

BOSTON — Through the first 51 games of the season, Monta Ellis had been a staple in the Dallas Mavericks’ lineup.

But, after straining his right hamstring Friday during the final moments of the Mavericks’ 103-81 home win over Utah, there was some doubt that the team’s second-leading scorer and starting 2-guard would be in action to begin a three-game road trip in Boston.

Ellis then quickly put Mavs fans’ concerns to rest, remaining in the starting lineup Sunday as his team went in search of a fifth straight win overall. And with Ellis providing a spark simply by his presence on the court, the Mavericks (31-21) quickly sprinted past the Celtics (18-33) en route to a 102-91 victory, securing their first five-game winning streak since seizing six in a row from February 8-17, 2012.

“[Ellis] is an amazing guy,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of the veteran guard. “I had very little hope that he would even think about playing, and then he spent the last 36 hours with [head athletic trainer] Casey Smith and he wanted to go. That sends a great message to our team, you know, guys just wanting to play and wanting to be there. And he played well, too. He didn’t have huge numbers or anything like that, but him being in the lineup is huge for us.”

With Ellis once again in the first unit, the Mavericks looked to get off to a fast start. But the ball would swing to 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki in the early going, lifting an otherwise stagnant Dallas offense. And despite just 6-of-18 shooting as a team in the opening period, the Mavs took a 17-16 edge into the second stanza.

After holding the Celtics to 5-of-22 shooting in the first quarter, the Dallas defense continued to scramble as the second period got underway. Ellis then connected on his first field goal of the night, swishing a corner 3-pointer to put the Mavs up 28-22.

“He’s a warrior,” Nowitzki said of Ellis. “I didn’t really expect that after seeing him yesterday getting some treatment and moving gingerly on his leg. But he wanted to be out there and help us get this win, so he’s definitely a warrior.”

“I wasn’t thinking about it,” a modest Ellis added. “Just going out there and doing what I’ve been doing the whole season and worrying about that after the game. I feel good, no pain, and just taking it day by day.”

But the Celtics would stay close behind point guard Rajon Rondo, before Nowitzki took the Mavs into the intermission with a 44-38 advantage.

Led by Nowitzki’s 15 first-half points on 6-of-10 shooting, the Mavericks claimed to the lead through two quarters while outshooting the Celtics, 41.7 percent to 27.1 percent. The Mavs also overcame a 26-23 rebounding deficit.

Looking to match Rondo’s production at the point, Mavs floor general Jose Calderon began the second half with a 3-pointer from the wing. Center Samuel Dalembert then began to make his presence felt inside as the Mavs surged ahead by double digits. And with the separation on the scoreboard reaching as many as 17, the Mavs charged into the fourth period with a 72-56 lead after reserve guard Devin Harris found backup big man Brandan Wright above the rim for an empathic alley-oop finish.

With Harris and Wright hooking up twice more to start the fourth, the Mavericks quickly began to put the Celtics in their rearview mirror.

“I thought Harris did a terrific job in the second half managing the tempo and making plays,” Carlisle said after the combo guard provided a spark off the bench.

Nowitzki then jumped back into the scoring in a big way, swishing a trey from behind the arc to lift the Mavs to an 81-58 lead with 9:23 left to play. But the 7-footer and Ellis sat a short time later as sixth man Vince Carter and four-time All-Star Shawn Marion took it from there, putting the Celtics away with an array of perimeter shots as the lead reached as many as 24 in the final quarter.

The Celtics then made the final score respectable, draining perimeter shots of their own down the stretch, before Calderon’s basket to make it a 100-89 game with 58.7 seconds remaining closed the door.

“It was getting chippy for a minute, but our guys did everything they could to hold them off and make plays,” Ellis concluded. “For us to sit down and rest our legs was big.”

Scoring 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting and resting the final 6:38 of play, Nowitzki led the way to the win while snatching down five rebounds and dishing out four assists.

Calderon added 18 points, five rebounds and five assists in the first unit, while Carter pitched in 14 points off the bench. Harris registered 12 points in a reserve role, dishing out seven assists to boot. Meanwhile, Marion matched Ellis with 11 points, adding 10 rebounds to record the double-double.

Jeff Green led five Celtics in double figures with 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting. But the Mavericks’ 45.1 percent from the field bettered the Celtics’ 35.9 percent, adding a 48-43 rebounding advantage behind Dalembert’s 11 boards inside.

“We didn’t really shoot the ball well, and I thought we made some mistakes and took some bad shots,” Nowitzki concluded after the Mavs went 10 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2010-11 season.

He added: “I thought we turned the ball over a little too much and were a little careless, but the good thing is our defense was solid. Even though we felt like they missed some open shots there and we gave them some opportunities, in the second half we kept playing good defense and rebounded the ball. We talked about this team having a lot of guys who crash the glass and are a good offensive rebound team,  and we out-rebounded them again. That’s a good thing for us. If we out-rebound a team and play some solid defense, I like our chances.”

Note: The Mavericks will now make the second stop on their three-game road trip Tuesday in Charlotte, taking on the Bobcats for the second time this season. Dallas leads the season series 1-0 after an 89-82 home win back on Dec. 3. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 6 p.m. CT.

After the All-Star break, the Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Tuesday, Feb. 18, facing off against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. Miami leads the season series 1-0 after handing Dallas a 110-104 road loss back on Nov. 15. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.

 

Dallas Mavericks
PLAYER MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Shawn Marion, F355-111-10-0191010002-211
Dirk Nowitzki, F317-162-64-4145400102420
Samuel Dalembert, C223-60-00-047110010366
Monta Ellis, G283-91-24-4055220211211
Jose Calderon, G317-133-61-223550010-118
Vince Carter204-113-63-4112121221114
DeJuan Blair40-10-00-00111000000
Devin Harris234-90-14-402270022-112
Jae Crowder211-20-10-00110100112
Brandan Wright203-40-02-21560121158
Wayne Ellington00-00-00-00000000000
Bernard James00-00-00-00000000000
Shane Larkin00-00-00-00000000000
Ricky Ledo00-00-00-00000000000
Gal Mekel00-00-00-00000000000
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF   PTS
37-8210-2318-201038482164912 102
45.1%43.5%90.0%
Boston Celtics
PLAYER MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
Jeff Green, F356-153-83-423533112418
Brandon Bass, F142-40-02-202200003-96
Jared Sullinger, C354-130-43-3391220022111
Avery Bradley, G182-131-30-000000012-115
Rajon Rondo, G366-123-60-0088121000-215
Kelly Olynyk222-70-22-224600015-76
Gerald Wallace152-40-00-012310030-124
Jerryd Bayless170-40-02-201180020-132
Kris Humphries235-120-00-003300102-710
Chris Johnson144-74-42-230311102714
Phil Pressey50-10-00-000000001-60
Joel Anthony00-00-00-00000000000
Keith Bogans00-00-00-00000000000
Vitor Faverani00-00-00-00000000000
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF   PTS
33-9211-2714-1511324327531019 91
35.9%40.7%93.3%

Harris to Wright

Dallas' Devin Harris finds Brandan Wright for the alley-oop slam.

BOSTON — Surging a season-high nine game over .500 and riding a four-game winning streak, the Dallas Mavericks are building some much-needed momentum heading into the All-Star break.

However, before the break in the schedule, the Mavericks (30-21) will face three tough challenges away from home, beginning a three-game road trip Sunday in Boston against the Celtics (18-33).

Hoping to building off Friday’s 103-81 home win over Utah, the Mavericks will try to keep the momentum going against a Boston team that has won three straight. The visiting Mavs will also attempt to once again rely on their defense, after holding the Jazz in check in the second half of Friday’s win.

“I like the way we played,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said after the win. “It’s a combative team that we played. We held up over the 48 minutes, and we did a lot of good things. Other than the beginning of the game, I thought we were very solid.”

“Before you hit the road for an extended period of time, you want to win that last game before you head on the road,” 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki added. “We did a good job there in the second half. Not so good in the first, and they got off smoking. … But then I thought we did a good job defensively. The defense in the second half and the rebounding is what got us the win.”

The Mavericks have won five of six against the Celtics, but fell to a 117-115 double-overtime defeat in their last trip to Boston back on Dec. 12, 2012. Overall, the Mavs have won their last three by an average of 17.6 points. They’ll try to continue that dominance perhaps without their second-leading scorer, after starting 2-guard Monta Ellis suffered a strained right hamstring late in the fourth quarter of Friday’s win.

After leading the Mavs with 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting and adding four rebounds and four assists against Utah, Ellis limped off the court before the final buzzer. Still, the cat-quick guard accompanied the team on the road, although no further update has come on the severity of the injury.

“I ain’t worried about that,” Ellis said of the injury. “I always stay positive. We got the win, and now we’re going to work for this next one. … I’ve got screws and plates in my ankle. This is nothing — minor.

“I think we’re growing every day. We’ve just got to continue to help one another on defense, share the ball on offense and keep chipping away. Get these last three games before the All-Star break and go from there.”

Note: The Mavericks will now begin a three-game road trip Sunday in Boston, taking on the Celtics for the first time this season. The game will air nationally on NBA TV and locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 5 p.m. CT.

After the All-Star break, the Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Tuesday, Feb. 18, facing off against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. Miami leads the season series 1-0 after handing Dallas a 110-104 road loss back on Nov. 15. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.