MAVERICKS (41-26) at BOSTON CELTICS (41-27)
Time: 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Place: TD Garden, Boston.
TV: ABC (Ch. 8)
Radio: The Eagle 97.1 FM; Univision Zona MX 99.1 FM (Spanish)
About the Mavericks: They got their five-game trip off to a solid start with a 113-100 win Friday at Houston. But the price of poker goes up now . . . The Rockets own the worst record in the NBA. The Celtics – plus upcoming opponents Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Charlotte – all are bound for the postseason in the Eastern Conference . . . They are hoping to get Jalen Brunson (thigh) and Dorian Finney-Smith (arm) back after both missed the Houston game. Brunson has missed two of the last three games and coach Jason Kidd said that the fourth-year guard should be wearing “a football suit” with the bumping and grinding that he is absorbing on a nightly basis . . . They will play eight of their remaining nine road games against East teams. So far, they are 11-11 against the East, including just 2-5 on the road . . . The rest of March will go a long way toward determining where the Mavericks will finish in the Western Conference standings. Nine of their next 10 games are against teams that are on target to be either in the playoffs or the play-in tournament . . . Luka Dončić has averaged 32 points and 12 rebounds since missing the Sacramento game last week. If you want to nitpick, he’s shot just 70.9 percent from the free-throw line in those games, but he has shot the 3-ball very well (13-of-33, 39.4 percent) . . . Spencer Dinwiddie has played 10 games as a Maverick and averages 17.5 points and 4.5 assists. He’s also shooting 43.5 percent from 3-point range, a massive uptick from the 31 percent he shot during his time with Washington before the trade.
About the Celtics: They have been the hottest team in the NBA since late January, going 16-2. They have kept eight of those 18 opponents under 100 points . . . Jayson Tatum is on a sensational sizzle, averaging 39.8 points in five March games. He’s also shooting 42 percent from 3-point range in the month. His run includes a 54-point outing in a win over Brooklyn. The Celtics are 5-0 in March . . . Their latest success was Friday in a 114-103 win over Detroit in which Tatum had 31 points while Jaylen Brown had 22 and Marcus Smart 20. The Celtics won that game despite shooting 18.8 percent (6-of-32) from 3-point range . . . Tatum (26.8 points per game) and Brown (23.0) are one of the highest-scoring duos in the league . . . They are one of only four teams ahead of the Mavericks in overall defensive rating. The Celtics are third, giving up 106.4 points per 100 possessions. They also are tops in the NBA in field-goal percentage defense at 43.1 percent . . . The Celtics’ run has pushed them to fifth in the Eastern Conference, just a game behind fourth-seeded Chicago going into Saturday’s action . . . They have been bolstered by the addition of Derrick White, who was acquired from San Antonio at the trade deadline. He’s averaged 11.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 12 games with the Celtics . . . They are far from home free in the standings, however. Of their final 14 games, 10 are against playoff teams and they face stout road tests against Golden State, Denver, Chicago, Milwaukee and Memphis . . . It’s been a long time since they have seen the Mavericks. They lost 107-104 at American Airlines Center in early November. In that game, Brown did not play and Dennis Schroder, who’s now in Houston, started.
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