Game 18: Mavs vs. Celtics

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Powell Alley-Oop From Barea

J. J. Barea lobs up a pass to Dwight Powell who finishes the alley-oop over Daniel Theis.

DALLAS — Hoping to carry over the momentum of Saturday’s 111-79 win over Milwaukee, the Dallas Mavericks tried to see how well they measure up against the best team in the NBA record-wise two nights later.

Hosting the streaking Boston Celtics, the Mavericks attempted to bring their four-game homestand to a victorious close. The Mavs also tried to end the Celtics’ 15-game winning streak, looking to contain All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving in the process. But with Irving tallying a season-high 47 points, the Mavericks (3-15) would push the Celtics (16-2) for 53 minutes before eventually suffering a hard-fought 110-102 overtime loss on their home hardwood.

“[Irving] is a good player, but we had our chances,” 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said after the loss. “Sometimes good players are on. We tried all sorts of stuff on him. We tried to trap him some and we tried to mix it up, and he made us pay on a lot of stuff. But saying all that, we should have won that game.”

Sticking with the starting lineup of rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr., veteran swingman Wesley Matthews, leading scorer Harrison Barnes, German big man Maxi Kleber and Nowitzki, the Mavericks tried to come out of the gates fast in front of their home crowd. Smith then did his best to get the Mavs going in the right direction, scoring six points during an 8-2 start.

However, the Celtics quickly charged back to take the lead behind Irving’s aggressive play and long-range attack at the offensive end of the floor. Second-year standout Jaylen Brown lent some assistance as the Celtics threatened to pull away in the opening quarter. And behind Irving’s 18-point first quarter, the Celtics took a 34-22 advantage into the second stanza.

Seeing matters get worse before they got better as the second quarter got underway, the Mavericks continued to slide into a widening hole. Backup point guard J.J. Barea then tried to ignite his team while taking over the scoring duties. Matthews intervened from there, connecting on three-pointer to bring the Mavs back within single digits at 39-30 with 8:21 left in the first half.

Barnes brought the Mavericks even closer with a three-pointer from the top of the key to make the deficit four, 44-40, with 3:11 in the half. Matthews’ third triple of the night made it a one-point game shortly after that to cap an 18-5 Dallas run. Still, behind Irving’s 25-point half, the Celtics escaped into the intermission with a 53-49 edge.

Led by Irving’s 9-of-10 shooting and 4-for-4 shooting from three-point range, the Celtics outshot the Mavericks from the field in the first half, 50 percent to 43.5 percent. The Celtics also held a 27-17 rebounding advantage, overcoming their eight turnovers.

“You know, I thought our guards battled,” Barnes said of the defense on Irving. “You know, we did some different things to try to get the ball out of his hands, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get a win.”

Seeing Nowitzki find a rhythm early in the second half, the Mavericks quickly drew even on the scoreboard at 53-all as the third period got underway. Barnes stepped from there, driving for an and-one score to put the Mavs up by three.

The lead grew to seven as Matthews continued to find the bottom of the net from behind the three-point arc. Meanwhile, frustration began to build for the Celtics, leading to a technical foul on Irving with 4:24 left in the third period for arguing with the officials. And after Barea’s three to beat the shot clock put the Mavericks up by eight, the home team took a 77-69 advantage into the final quarter.

Starting the fourth period with a three-pointer from Flower Mound native Marcus Smart, the Celtics tried to make another charge. The Mavs countered with a relentless attack towards the rim, taking an 83-72 lead to force a Boston timeout at the 9:19 mark after driving scores from Barea and second-year standout Yogi Ferrell.

Barea stayed on the attack from there, operating as a scorer and facilitator as the Mavericks continued to keep their foot on the gas. But after Irving’s two free throws with 6:29 left to play, the Celtics worked a 13-point deficit down to 87-79. The Mavs saw their lead shrunk to five from there after rookie Jayson Tatum’s transition score, forcing Dallas into a timeout with an 89-84 edge and 4:31 remaining. An alley-oop connection between Smart and Tatum followed as the Celtics charged within three. But after Matthews’ three-point play with 3:43 remaining, the Mavericks assumed a 92-86 lead and tried to keep the Celtics at bay.

Not to be outdone, Irving responded with a personal 5-0 run to bring his team within one, 92-91, with 2:30 left on the game clock. Nowitzki and Barea calmly answered with a back-to-back scores of their own, attempting to lift their team down the stretch. But after Smart’s three to bring the Celtics within two, Irving forced a Nowitzki turnover before feeding Tatum on a fast break to tie the game at 96-all. The Boston defense forced another stop the next time down the floor. But after Irving’s miss from the corner, the Mavericks found themselves with a chance to go back in front and 23.9 seconds to operate with after using their final timeout.

Barnes would then try to work against Tatum from near the top of the key. However, after the versatile forward missed a midrange jumper, Marcus Morris secured the rebound and called for a timeout with .4 ticks left. The Celtics would then fail to get a shot off on the last possession of regulation, sending the game to overtime.

Starting the extra period with a lineup of Barea, Ferrell, Matthews, Barnes and Nowitzki, the Mavericks tried to feed off the energy of their home crowd. Back-to-back scores to begin the overtime from Barnes and Barea helped the Mavs play from in front, leading to consecutive baskets from Irving to keep the teams evenly knotted.

Irving scored again after two free throws by Barnes, leading to Brown’s jumper to put the Celtics ahead by two with 1:39 left in OT. Irving’s score over Ferrell extended the Boston lead to four from there. Two free throws by Tatum put the Celtics up 108-102 with 35.3 ticks left, forcing a timeout by Mavs coach Rick Carlisle. Irving then put the finishing touches on the Celtics’ win at the free-throw line in the final moments.

Scoring 31 points on 10-of-21 shooting, Barnes led the Mavericks in a losing effort while grabbing six rebounds. Matthews pitched in 18 points and six boards in the first unit, and Barea added 16 points off the bench. Meanwhile, Nowitzki finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.

“I thought everyone fought hard and put ourselves in a position to win. But as the closer, I’ve got to be better,” Barnes matter-of-factly confessed.

“At the end of the day, it’s got to show up in wins and losses. There’s no moral victories around here,” he added. “Tonight, playing against a great team, we had a great opportunity to win here in front of our fans. But like I said, we let it slip away.”

Irving led four Celtics in double figures with 47 points on 16-of-22 shooting and 5 of 7 from three. The Celtics also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 45.2 percent to 40.6 percent, adding a 53-45 rebounding edge to overcome their 17 turnovers.

“In overtime, we weren’t very good,” Nowitzki admitted. “They got rolling, we missed a few shots, made a few bad plays, and it’s tough to lose a game like this. We battled one of the best teams in the league, and we were right there. We just couldn’t close it.”

“I told our guys, ‘If you’re going to mourn this game, give it till midnight, and then we’ve got to look ahead.’ We’ve got to look ahead to Wednesday, and we’ve got to keep moving forward,” Carlisle added. “We’re making progress. We just aren’t putting the kind of wins on the board that we feel we can. And the only thing that can short circuit us from making more progress is to take our eye off the ball in terms of making more progress. If we stay in the process, we will win our share of games.”

Note: The Mavericks will now travel to Memphis for a third meeting of the season against the Southwest Division rival Grizzlies. The season series is tied at 1-1. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270.

The Mavs return to their home floor Saturday night at American Airlines Center against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oklahoma City leads the season series 1-0 after a 112-99 home win on Nov. 12. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out

Celtics

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
J. Tatum, SF 37 6-11 0-2 3-4 0 9 9 1 1 1 1 3 15 15
M. Morris, PF 26 3-11 1-4 1-1 1 8 9 2 1 1 1 3 0 8
A. Horford, C 38 1-5 1-1 0-0 1 7 8 7 1 2 3 0 15 3
J. Brown, SG 37 8-13 3-6 3-6 0 9 9 0 1 0 3 2 6 22
K. Irving, PG 38 16-22 5-7 10-11 1 2 3 6 1 0 3 3 21 47
M. Smart 34 3-15 2-11 4-4 1 2 3 8 2 0 3 4 15 12
A. Baynes 13 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 3 4 0 1 0 0 4 1 0
D. Theis 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 -5 0
S. Ojeleye 11 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 2 -7 0
T. Rozier 13 1-4 1-3 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 2 1 -13 3
A. Nader 3 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 -5 0
S. Larkin 2 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 -3 0
G. Yabusele 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
K. Allen 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Bird 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
G. Hayward 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   38-84 13-36 21-26 5 48 53 24 8 4 17 24   110
    45.2% 36.1%                      

Show Bench Hide Bench

Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, SF 40 10-21 1-5 10-10 0 6 6 2 0 1 2 0 -21 31
M. Kleber, PF 15 0-1 0-1 0-0 2 2 4 0 0 0 0 3 -1 0
D. Nowitzki, C 32 7-12 0-1 0-0 0 12 12 2 0 1 1 1 8 14
W. Matthews, SG 43 6-14 4-11 2-3 0 6 6 3 4 0 2 4 -9 18
D. Smith Jr., PG 26 4-16 0-4 0-0 2 3 5 4 1 1 0 3 5 8
Y. Ferrell 37 2-7 0-3 2-2 0 2 2 2 1 0 1 3 -15 6
J. Barea 26 6-13 2-7 2-3 0 3 3 4 0 0 2 1 -6 16
D. Powell 23 3-5 0-0 0-0 3 1 4 0 0 0 0 2 -2 6
D. Harris 12 0-5 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 3 -5 0
S. Mejri 6 1-2 0-0 1-2 1 2 3 0 0 0 1 2 6 3
N. Noel 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Cleveland 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Withey 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S. Curry 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Finney-Smith 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. McRoberts 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Motley 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   39-96 7-33 17-20 8 37 45 18 7 3 11 22   102
    40.6% 21.2%                      

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One-on-one with Antonius Cleveland

Earl K. Sneed goes one-on-one with the newest Maverick, Antonius Cleveland.


Shootaround: Wesley Matthews

Mavs G Wesley Matthews dishes on tonight's game against Boston.


Shootaround: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle previews tonight's game against the Celtics.

DALLAS — After sharing the ball while handing out 27 assists and connecting on a franchise record-tying 19 three-pointers Saturday during a 111-79 victory over Milwaukee, the Dallas Mavericks say that formula could once again be the key for success Monday night against the streaking Boston Celtics.

Hosting the NBA-best Celtics (15-2) and their current 15-game winning streak, the Mavericks (3-14) will attempt to finish off their four-game homestand with a signature win. The Mavs will also try to end the Celtics’ win streak in its tracks. And according to Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, the Mavs will try to follow a similar game plan after utilizing a free-flowing offense to capture Saturday’s victory.

“The best way to play basketball is to play a flowing, random game. And then the shots come more randomly, athletes can be reactors instead of thinkers, and it’s by far the best way to play,” Carlisle explained after the Mavs’ Monday morning shootaround. “Because Boston is so good defensively, if we just come out there and try to run plays against them, it’s going to be very hard. They’ll have things well scouted, and they’re a liberal switching team. That kind of stuff can blow up set plays, so we’ve got to execute well and recognize those situations. The best way to play basketball is to get stops, go with it and keep it moving.”

Scoring a season-high 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting and 6 of 8 from three-point range, veteran swingman Wesley Matthews led the way to Saturday’s win at the offensive end of the floor. He also operated as the team’s top playmaker in that game, dishing out a season-high eight assists during the win. Matthews will now try to match that level of aggression against the Celtics’ stingy defense, which is allowing just 94.4 points per game to rank No. 1 in the league. That said, Matthews believes the team’s unselfish play could directly affect the final score Monday night.

“If the ball is moving, we’re getting stops, we’re running, we’re playing off of each other and we’re just playing basketball with not many plays being called, we’re getting stops and we’re rewarding ourselves. That’s when a lot of us are at our best,” Matthews proclaimed. “And that was evident. We did that against Philly. We did that against Memphis here, and we did it against Milwaukee. And we’ve done it against teams when we didn’t win the game, but we came back.”

Note: The Mavericks will now conclude their homestand Monday night at American Airlines Center against the Boston Celtics. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out

DALLAS — After holding the Milwaukee Bucks to a season-low scoring output by an opponent Saturday during a 111-79 victory to complete a home-home back-to-back, the Dallas Mavericks will try to replicate that formula with another victory Monday night against the hottest team in the NBA.

Welcoming in the surging Boston Celtics and their current 15-game winning streak, the Mavericks (3-14) will attempt to produce a repeat performance after ending a four-game losing streak in their last game. The Mavs will also try conclude their four-game homestand on a high note with a second straight win in front of their own fans. And after leading by as many as 32 points during Saturday’s win, the Mavericks hope to be just as dominant against the best team record-wise in the league.

“Everybody feels good. Aches don’t hurt as much, and you just feel better about everything that you’ve done,” veteran swingman Wesley Matthews said after scoring a season-high 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting and 6 of 8 from three-point range while dishing out a season-best eight assists to boot Saturday to lead his team to the victory. “You know, you don’t need moral victories. You’ve got the real one, and you’ve got the one you’re supposed to get. We can actually see everything that we’ve been trying to do come together, and hopefully that just carries the momentum into the off day where everybody’s feeling good. You know, we’ve got another tough battle Monday against Boston, who is the hottest team in the league right now, but it’s another opportunity for us.”

Despite trading away their top scorer from last season during the summer and seeing one of their prized offseason additions go down with a gruesome injury on Opening Night, the Celtics (15-2) have ascended to the top of the Eastern Conference once again through the play of their All-Star point guard. That said, the Mavericks will certainly be challenged while concluding their homestand against lead guard Kyrie Irving and the Celtics on Monday night.

This summer, the Celtics dealt leading scorer Isaiah Thomas, former Maverick Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round draft pick and the Miami Heat’s 2020 second-round pick to Cleveland in exchange for Irving’s services. The trade has since paid immediate dividends, leading to the Celtics sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings again after finishing with the No. 1 seed last season before eventually falling to Cleveland in the conference finals. Boston has also overcome a sluggish start to the season after back-to-back losses to begin the grueling 82-game schedule. Meanwhile, Irving has operated as the Celtics’ top scorer and playmaker following the likely season-ending ankle injury of fellow new addition Gordon Hayward. And according to Mavs backup guard J.J. Barea, his team will have to collectively raise its level of play in order to keep pace with the Irving-led Celtics.

“You know, it’s a great opportunity for us,” Barea explained after scoring a season-high 20 points off the bench during Saturday’s win. “It’s a great team that’s playing the best basketball in the NBA right now. But if we play like we did (Saturday night) with this energy, this movement of the ball and make shots, we’re going to have a chance to win.”

Note: The Mavericks will now conclude their homestand Monday night at American Airlines Center against the Boston Celtics. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out