Final: Celtics 90, Mavs 83
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
The Mavs limited the Celtics to just 0.455 points per possession in the second quarter, outscoring Boston 14-10 in the frame.
The Dallas offense erupted in the third quarter, scoring 1.211 points per possession, thanks to a concerted effort to get to the free throw line. The Mavs as a team shot seven from the stripe in the third. Wesley Matthews’ 3-point barrage also contributed.
Harrison Barnes was magnificent again, overcoming a 4-of-14 shooting start to finish with 28 points, his fifth consecutive game with at least 20 points. Per Basketball-Reference, the last Mavericks forward to score at least 20 points in five straight games was Josh Howard in 2008. He did it on the block, in the mid-range, and at the rim — so, in other words, it’s been business as usual of late for Barnes, who has suddenly become a reliable go-to option. He hit so many shots in this game. It’s been so amazing to watch his growth.
Wesley Matthews erupted from his 3-point shooting slump in this game, connecting on six of his 13 attempts. It’s been a difficult start to the 2016-17 season from Matthews, at least on the offensive end, but it was good to see him shoot the ball so well tonight. The Mavs certainly needed all the scoring they could get. Hopefully Matthews’ start is now behind him and he can carry this momentum into Friday’s game against Memphis.
The Mavs’ defense had one of its finest performances of the season, if not its best, in this one. The club came into the game forcing turnovers more often than any other team in the NBA and, true to form, Dallas forced 19 giveaways in this one to stay close enough through the early going. The Mavericks force mistakes by taking charges, jumping pass lanes, and keeping active hands against driving opponents. I can’t count how many times a Mavericks player will swipe at the ball or reach in against a driving opponent from a help position. Those types of things add up across an entire game, especially in this game, when Boston started so hot from the field.
J.J. Barea suffered what appeared to be a non-contact injury to his lower left leg midway through the fourth quarter. He immediately fell to the ground and got up slowly, walking to the locker room with help without putting any pressure on his left leg. Needless to say, it was a scary moment and the hope is for the best for Barea. According to Mavericks PR, the injury is being described as a left calf strain. Elsewhere on the injury front, Deron Williams started the game but left early after his calf injury further bothered him. Dirk Nowitzki did not play.
The Mavs (2-8) play the Memphis Grizzlies (5-5) on Friday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.