Highlights: Celtics vs. MavericksDirk Nowitzki lead the Mavs with 19 points as the Mavs opened up an eight-game homestand with a win over the Celtics.
DALLAS — Hoping to avoid the luck of the Irish, the Dallas Mavericks looked to ruin the Boston Celtics’ St. Patrick’s Day celebration Monday at American Airlines Center.
Looking to build on back-to-back road wins, the Mavericks returned to Dallas for the start of an eight-game homestand focused on moving up the Western Conference standings. And after seizing a 102-91 road win in Boston back on Feb. 9, the Mavericks tried to sweep the series against the Celtics for the third time in four seasons.
“I feel especially fortunately that we were able to beat these guys on St. Patrick’s Day,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joked after the win. “You know, if you play the Celtics on St. Patrick’s Day, that’s not exactly a good situation even if you’re at home.”
Bouncing back from his 2-of-7 shooting performance Sunday night in the Mavs’ 109-86 road win over Oklahoma City, starting 2-guard Monta Ellis opened the scoring with a mid-range jumper. Meanwhile, the Celtics (22-46) showed no signs of tired legs after suffering a 121-120 overtime defeat in New Orleans.
Still, with 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and sixth man Vince Carter leading the way, the Mavericks escaped the opening quarter with a 26-22 edge.
Led by the connection of reserve guard Devin Harris and backup big man Brandan Wright, the Mavericks continued to control the game early in the second period. But the Celtics would rally with a 13-0 run to take the lead behind the play of second-year big man Jared Sullinger.
The Mavericks then surged back behind Carter’s instant offense off the bench. And with Ellis coming alive, the Mavs took a 50-43 advantage into the halftime intermission.
Led by Nowitzki’s 10 first-half points on 3-of-7 shooting, the Mavericks’ 43.2 percent as a team bettered the Celtics’ 37.2 percent. The Mavs also made up for their 5-of-18 shooting from behind the 3-point arc and 26-19 rebounding deficit, holding a 26-16 advantage in paint scoring.
Sharing the wealth coming out of the locker room, the Mavericks would quickly grab a double-digit lead through their stellar ball movement. Four-time All-Star Shawn Marion also picked back up where he left off at in Oklahoma City, following his 19-point performance.
But, after the Mavs upped their advantage to as many as 15, the home team would again see the visiting Celtics stage a comeback. The Mavs then slid into the fourth with just a 64-61 separation on the scoreboard.
“We had a dry third quarter, but they didn’t score all that well themselves that quarter either,” Carlisle said. “It’s a pretty typical both-teams-playing-back-to-back-type game.”
With Nowitzki struggling through a rare cold-shooting night, the Mavs would receive a spark from their bench in the early minutes of the final quarter. Back-to-back dunks from Wright and Nowitzki then lifted the Mavericks to a 74-66 lead with 7:56 left to close the Celtics out. But the Celtics still refused to go away, forcing a timeout by Carlisle with 5:02 remaining after back-to-back 3-pointers from Jerryd Bayless and Avery Bradley made it a 78-74 game in Dallas’ favor.
The two teams then exchanged haymakers down the stretch, answering 3-point bomb with long-range shots at both ends as the Celtics climbed within two. Wright’s putback off Nowitzki’s tip attempt then gave the Mavs a 90-85 lead with 53.0 seconds left on the clock. But the Mavericks still weren’t out of the woods safe after a score inside by Celtics rookie center Kelly Olynyk was followed by Bradley’s steal of Ellis and breakaway basket, leading to another Carlisle timeout with his team up 90-89 and 21.6 ticks remaining.
Ellis then calmly connected on two free throws to widen the margin to three with 19.8 seconds to hold on. The Dallas defense did the rest, collecting a block from Carter on Bayless’ shot inside prior to Marion’s clutch strokes at the charity stripe to pad the lead in the final moments.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Ellis confessed. “But we stuck with it, made plays down the stretch when we needed, got defensive stops, got rebounds and came away with the win. … [The Celtics] have been playing like this the whole season. They always play the whole 48 minutes, so we knew they were going to come back and make a run. But we took their punch, made plays down the stretch and came out with the win.”
“We all know that after an emotional and tough win on the road sometimes it’s hard to get up the next day, especially against a team that so-called does not have a great record,” Nowitzki added. “But we wanted to get this win somehow and it wasn’t pretty. You’ve got to give them credit, they play hard. They kept coming even when we were up 10. They kept making plays and crashing the boards on us, and they’re a hard-playing bunch. They’re well-coached and we’re fortunate to come away with the win down the stretch.”
Overcoming a 6-of-17 shooting night, Nowitzki led five Mavs in double figures with 19 points to go along with six rebounds. Ellis added 17 points, grading down seven rebounds and dishing out four assists. Meanwhile, Harris scored 12 points and dished out six assists off the bench and Marion scored 11 points in the first unit.
Bayless led four Celtics in double figures with 19 points on 6-of-16 shooting, but the Mavericks outshot Boston on the night, 42.3 percent to 36.6 percent. The Mavs also made up for a 57-36 rebounding disadvantage by scoring 19 points off Boston’s 17 turnovers, allowing 12 points off their own 13 giveaways.
“It’s a good win,” Carlisle concluded. “The biggest problem we were having out there was rebounding. They had 21 offensive rebounds, which is an astronomical number. It’s too many, obviously. They charge after it pretty aggressively, and we didn’t do a good job there. But we survived it. We didn’t shoot it great, but overall we did enough to win.”
Note: The Mavericks will return to action at American Airlines Center Wednesday, hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota leads the season series 2-1. 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.
|Jeff Green, F||38||5||4||1||0||9||7||2||6||3||-4||2-12||1-2||0-0|
|Brandon Bass, F||16||5||1||0||0||2||2||0||2||0||-14||2-5||0-0||1-2|
|Kris Humphries, C||23||5||1||1||1||14||7||7||0||3||-12||2-8||0-0||1-2|
|Jerryd Bayless, G||35||19||6||1||0||3||2||1||3||4||-1||6-16||3-5||4-4|
|Avery Bradley, G||35||11||2||3||0||3||3||0||0||1||-4||5-14||1-3||0-0|
|Shawn Marion, F||34||11||0||2||0||6||5||1||1||1||7||4-10||1-4||2-2|
|Dirk Nowitzki, F||32||19||1||0||0||6||6||0||1||1||9||6-17||4-8||3-3|
|Samuel Dalembert, C||22||6||0||0||2||7||6||1||3||4||5||3-4||0-0||0-0|
|Monta Ellis, G||37||17||4||1||0||7||7||0||5||3||5||4-11||1-2||8-9|
|Jose Calderon, G||31||6||6||1||1||0||0||0||1||1||9||2-6||2-4||0-0|
Postgame: Devin HarrisMavs G Devin Harris weighs in on how comfortable he is out on the court now, being able to get timely stops in the win against the Celtics Monday night and more.
Postgame: Shawn MarionMavs F Shawn Marion dishes on picking up a win over the Celtics on St. Patrick's Day, Wednesday's game against the Timberwolves and more.
Carter Shovels to WrightVince Carter delivers the smooth shovel pass to Brandan Wright for the jam.
Vince’s Crazy ReverseVince Carter flips in the crazy reverse layup around the Celtics defense.
Oop to WrightDevin Harris tosses the oop to Brandan Wright who jams over the defense.
Ellis finds DalembertMonta Ellis drops it to Samuel Dalembert who rolls in for the jam.
Mavs beat Celtics to Open Long HomestandDirk Nowitzki leads another balanced scoring effort with 19 points, and the Mavericks beat the Celtics 94-89.
DALLAS — Returning to American Airlines Center from a difficult three-game stretch on the road, the Dallas Mavericks will now try to strengthen their playoff chances while beginning a season-long eight-game homestand.
Starting their home-heavy stretch with the slumping Boston Celtics, the Mavericks (40-27) will attempt to make up ground in the Western Conference standings while replicating a 102-91 road victory back on Feb. 9. The Mavs will also look to improve on a 21-10 mark on their home floor in order to return to the postseason, after seeing the franchise’s streak of 12 consecutive playoff appearances come to an end last season.
“Well, we’ve got an opportunity,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “I’ve never seen an eight-game homestand in this league in 30 years. It’s very unusual. There’s opportunity here, but it’s going to be very challenging, too. We’re going to have to work to keep our edge every day and every night, and we’ll find out a lot about our character. The ability to keep that edge is one of the signs of real competitive character, and we’re going to have to have it.”
Entering the night with four wins in the last five games and still flying high following Sunday’s 109-86 win in Oklahoma City, the Mavericks will try to keep their edge against a Boston team that has dropped four in a row and 11 of 14 overall following a 121-120 overtime defeat in New Orleans. Meanwhile, the Mavs seek their third series sweep of the Celtics (22-45) in the last four seasons, winning six of the last seven meetings and three straight at home.
And with a chance to move a game back of Golden State for the sixth spot in the West playoff race, the Mavs will attempt to continue their recent dominance over the Celtics while establishing a home-court advantage.
“We’ve just got to take things one game at a time,” forward Shawn Marion said. “We can’t jump ahead of ourselves. Every team that we’re playing is capable of beating us and we know that. We’ve got to understand that, go out there and take it one game at a time and see what we can do.”
Note: On the second night of a back-to-back, the Mavericks return to action at American Airlines Center Monday while hosting the Boston Celtics. Dallas leads the season series 1-0 after a 102-91 road win back on Feb. 9. 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.
Shawn Marion ranks 19th all-time in career steals with 1,713. He needs four thefts to pass Ron Harper (1,716) for 18th place on the NBA’s all-time steals list. Magic Johnson ranks 17th with 1,724.
Marion has 1,198 career blocks and needs two rejections to become the 52nd player in NBA history with at least 1,200 blocks.
Vince Carter ranks eighth all-time in 3-pointers made with 1,774. Miami’s Rashard Lewis ranks seventh with 1,776 and Detroit’s Chauncey Billups ranks sixth with 1,830.
Carter eclipsed the 23,000-point mark with a 3-pointer at the 2:17 mark of the third quarter at Oklahoma City on 3/16/14 (the basket gave him 10 points for the game and 23,002 for his career). He became the 27th player in NBA history to reach 23,000 points.