Final: Mavs 106, Celtics 102
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
After Boston opened up an 18-point lead late in the first quarter, Dallas responded well in the second frame, reducing the lead to as close as 52-45 before halftime. The Mavs shot 4-of-4 from the restricted area during the frame and scored 1.115 points per possession in the quarter, much-improved over their 0.727 mark in the opening stanza.
One stat the Mavs coaches always look at is catastrophic turnovers — that is, turnovers that lead to run-outs and, more often than not, a 1-on-0 situation with no chance for the defense to contest the shot. The goal is to commit as few of those as possible, but over the course of a game you’ll accidentally make one or two mistakes. The Mavs, though, committed four catastrophic turnovers in the first half alone tonight. Boston plays more aggressive on defense than perhaps any other team in the NBA, and when you go against teams that max it out that way, you have to take care of the ball. The Celts were able to turn those mistakes into seven easy points.
Dallas was down 18 in the first quarter. Regardless of the result, it’s an extremely positive sign that the Mavs were able to claw their way back into this one. Many teams might mail it in on the road, but Dallas put its head down and took its first lead on a Deron Williams three-pointer with just over four minutes left in the game. Successful teams find a way to be successful even in adverse situations. Obviously the result makes it better, but either way this is a good sign moving forward for this veteran team.
Boston has a very interesting starting lineup, playing undersized by conventional standards at both the center and point guard spots — Jared Sullinger and Isaiah Thomas, respectively, are several inches shorter than their typical assignments. That, and the defensive versatility of Thomas’ backcourt mate Marcus Smart, occasionally makes for some very strange-looking defensive gameplans. For example, the Celtics began the game with the 5-foot-9 Thomas guarding the 6-foot-10 Chandler Parsons before he switched over to Devin Harris once the Mavs guard checked into the game. You don’t get to see a one-foot height difference very often in the NBA. Dallas tried taking advantage of that by posting Parsons up on the smaller player, but Boston attacked him with double-teams in an effort to cancel out any advantage. Then, to begin the second half, the Mavs attacked Thomas in the post and it led to a few Parsons points.
Boston’s Kelly Olynyk took Dirk Nowitzki in isolation to end the first quarter. The Celtics big man drove the lane, stopped, and stepped back for a bit of a one-legged fade. Nowitzki was fooled by Olynyk’s fake and gave up a clean look at the basket, but Olynyk’s attempt rimmed out to end the frame. It looked like the two high-fived and exchanged some jokes after the buzzer, as well. Olynyk wears No. 41 in part as a tribute to Nowitzki.
Dirk continued his red-hot start to the season, scoring 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Most people would not expect a 37-year-old to do the things Nowitzki has already done this season, but the hope of course is that he’s only getting started. Chandler Parsons got off to a hot start as well, and as his minutes continue to increase, it’s only a matter of time before the Mavs’ two-man game of Parsons and Nowitzki becomes a threat opponents will have to worry about for 48 minutes.
The Mavs (8-4) play the Utah Jazz (5-5) Friday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Central.