The ‘D’ in Dallas is no longer silent.
Going into this game the Mavericks were giving up only 92.8 points a game and are the 3rd best in field goal percentage in the NBA. Those are heady numbers for a team that have never quite lived in that zip code for very long.
A change in starting line up for this contest for Rick Carlisle made an impact. DeShawn Stevenson got the nod over Jason Terry and he played a physical defense against Ray Allen while hitting 2 three pointers. The Mavs held the Cs to 32% shooting on 8 of 25 attempts with Ray going 0-3 in the first period. That allowed Jason Terry to give the Mavs scoring off the bench. Terry scored 17 points and hit a huge three pointer to tie the game at 87 all with 1:13 left.
They held the Boston Celtics to 87 points and 41.8% shooting. Dirk Nowitzki’s highest scoring average against any one team is against the Celtics at 28 per game. He scored 25 points in this contest and hit a jumper on a pass from Jason Kidd from beyond the left elbow with 18 seconds left that broke a tie to win the game 89-87.
Paul Pierce led the Cs with 24 points on 10-19 shooting with 2 of 3 from the three point line, while adding 7 rebounds. Pierce scored the Celtics last points of the game on a pull up jumper with 1:58 left giving the Celtics an 87-82 lead. Dallas scored the next 7 points while holding the Celtics scoreless.
Centers of Attention
Call it a loss of attrition. After crawling back into the game and the lead in the 3rd quarter, the Boston Celtics succumbed to 4 games in 6 days including 2 overtime games, the second game of a road back-to-back and the loss of their starting center. A game like this exacerbates the loss of Perkins and spotlights the same value that Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood have for their new team.
With Shaq already out with a bone bruise on his shin, Jermaine O’Neal went out after playing one half with a problem knee that swelled up. Tyson Chandler had a near double double by half time in his best game of the year against a gimpy O’Neal.
In the first half, with Kidd feeding him passes at the rim, Chandler was able to score 10 points to go with 9 rebounds and 2 blocks by the break. How much was the immobility of O’Neal and how much was it about Kidd knowing when and how to get Chandler going is still to be decided. This could become a similar situation to his days in New Orleans when he was most effective. Chris Paul knew best how to get Chandler going offensively by doing the very same thing.
Glen Davis started at center in the second half and was effective against Tyson Chandler as he finished with just 2 more points and 4 more rebounds. But Chandler’s defense in the middle and against Garnett was excellent. KG was only 1 of 6 on shots within 10 feet but not at the rim.
Kevin Garnett had a strong game with 18 points and 15 rebounds, even though he was hounded by Chandler and some double teams into shooting 9-20. Rondo worked the alley oop with KG at least 3 times.
Rajon had 15 assists, 11 points on just 5 of 15 attempts, 6 rebounds including 4 offensive, and 5 steals. The Celtics made an effort to hit the offensive boards in this game and won that battle 14-4 with KG grabbing also grabbing 4 and Jermaine adding 3 of his own.
Davis hit 3 more jumpers, including a big one to start the 4th making the score 78-74. He added 3 boards and 3 steals. That Glen Davis’ game is evolving in the right direction is evidenced by his usage rate (the amount of time someone monopolizes the ball). He had the lowest on the team at 12 in this contest. That he is able to catch and shoot at a high efficiency helps the offensive flow.
Semih Erden played 11 minutes scoring 6 points on 2-4 shooting with 2-2 from the line and a steal, an assist and a rebound. But he was unable to defend against the Mavs’ attack as they added 11 more points while he was in the game.
After being down 50-40 at the half the Beantown Ballers came out and outscored Dallas 27-13 to start the 3rd to take the lead at 67-63 at one point. Boston’s biggest lead of the night was 6 points at 80-74 with 7:25 left in the game. The Mavs clamped down and went on a 15-7 run to win and stop a Celtic 5 game winning
streak. From that point Dirk Nowitzki attacked the middle, ending up with 2 lay-ups and 2 foul shots before he hit his big jumper to win it.
With Davis as the only viable option at center Paul Pierce helped assist in the middle in the 3rd period. After making a jumper that tied the score at 57 all, Pierce came down and fouled Chandler on a put back. Pierce moved into the paint to cover on other Maverick plays, including a big block on Chandler late in the game.
Taking only 66 shots, the Mavericks shot 50% from the field and made 17-20 foul shots. They are a perennial league leader in free throw pct.
Ray Allen finished with just 11 points on 4 of 11 shooting with 5 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal.
Jose Juan Barea had his best game of the season, by far, said the Mavs announcers, with 11 points on 4 of 7 shooting and 3 assists in just 14 minutes. His counterpart, Nate Robinson, struggled with 3 points on 1 of 6 shooting in 8 minutes, with a rebound and an assist.
Celtics Miss Their O’Neal Brothers
Dallas impressed with its new defensive mindset and the Celtics missed their newly acquired height in the O’Neals. With Dirk and Chandler (or Haywood) defending the paint the Mavs seem to be able to cause problems for the Cs. Boston did win the battle of points in the paint 38 to 32. But Boston shot 54% on 13 of 24 attempts at the rim to the Mavericks’ 69% on 9 of 13 attempts at the rack.
With all the injury issues already with both center acquisitions, what was once thought to be a deep position may require a rethinking somewhere along the way. If Doc and the trainers can’t get both players healthy at the same time for any stretch, and Erden doesn’t develop quickly enough, would they make a move? We are only 8 games into a long season and it is already a problem.
The Celtics are winning and it is much too quick to hit the panic button. Hopefully things resolve themselves in a more positive way soon. Just thinking out loud.
The Cs are now 6-2 with 2 more road games coming up including their first rematch against the Miami Heat on national TV (TNT) Thursday night and the Grizzlies on Saturday.
one thing everyone can talk about is Rondo taking that three to end the game. He was 2 for 4 this season but it isn’t a reliable shot at this point. Obviously, he missed it. It was the shot the Mavericks left open and wanted, hoped and prayed the Celtics would take. Should he have taken it?
Most stats were obtained from Hoopdata.com. The rest from Yahoosports.