Tuesday night’s matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics was an intensely close game. The Celtics being 6th in the Eastern Conference and the Mavericks 9th in the Western Conference. The teams kept the score close throughout the game. Both had players named for the All-Star game; Luka Doncic for the Mavericks and Jayson Tatum, along with Jaylen Brown for the Celtics. In the end, the game winning shot was scored by Doncic, where he left only 00.1 second in the game.
Going into Tuesday night’s game, the Celtics’ lineup was missing star player Marcus Smart. Smart was out due to a left calf injury and is hoping to return after the All-Star break. With Smart out, the Celtics were still looking to pick up a win, falling short in the fourth quarter. The Celtics started strong but trailed the Mavericks at the end of the first quarter; 34-31. Both teams went back and forth, putting up shots heading into halftime with a score of 56-55, the Celtics only up by 1. Coming out of halftime, the Celtics gained their biggest lead of just 5 points the entire game. Soon after, the Mavericks regained their lead, ending the third quarter on top with a 4-point lead over the Celtics; 80-76. The Mavericks obtained a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter, making it their biggest lead of the whole game.
The Mavericks were missing 2 of their starters, Maxi Kleber and Kristaps Porzingis, but that did not hold them back from securing the win. With them out, Doncic stepped up and helped to put major points on the board. In the fourth quarter alone, Doncic scored 15 points. Doncic ended his night with 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. This helped lead the Mavericks to their 7th win out of the last 9 games they have played. Having won Tuesday’s night matchup, this brings the Mavericks pct standing back to .500. Although the Celtics offense did great this game, it was not enough to shut down Doncic.
Jalen Brunson (Dallas) was another key player in Tuesday night’s game. Brunson came off the bench for 30 minutes; he put 22 points on the board, along with having 2 assists and 2 rebounds. Brunson made all 5 of his free throws he was sent to the line for. Brunson also made 6 out of his 11 shots from the floor, putting him over that 50% mark. In the third quarter, he had 13 points, more points than all the three pointers the Celtics had combined. Along with that, Brunson ended his night by making 5 out of his 7 shots from a distance beyond the three point line.
A big factor that contributed to the Celtics’ loss was their defense. They had no consistency in Tuesday’s night game. Although they had generated an overall good offensive game, defense wins games, and that showed. The Celtics struggled to keep the Mavericks from putting points on the board. When it came to free throw percentages, the Celtics ended with a 72.2% from the line, whereas the Mavericks ended with an 86.7% from the line. Thirteen out of the 18 free throws the Celtics had were made, and 13 out of 15 free throws the Mavericks had been made. Three Celtics players finished with at least 20 points, 2 less than the Mavericks that had 5 players finish with double figures points.
On the Celtics’ side, their highest-scoring players of the night were Brown and Tatum. Tatum ended the night with 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Despite ending with 29 points, Tatum had a tough night from the field, only making 10 of his 23 shots. Of those 10 shots, 3 were made from deep. Brown finished with 29 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. The first time All-Star was unhappy with the outcome and said he did not feel like much of an All-Star because of the teams pct standing being below .500. The Celtics ended their night with their pct standing being at .484.
Doncic ended the game with a game-winning three bringing the score to 110-107, leaving the Celtics falling short by just 3 points. This brought the Mavericks record back to 15-15 for the first time in months.
As for the Celtics, their record is now 15-16. They hope to break their 0-2 losing streak on their 3 game road trip against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday at 7:30 pm. The Hawks are 11th in the Eastern Conference, just five spots under the Celtics.