A testy game to begin with, the Dallas Mavericks were in position to throw off the best NBA team by record. A late push by Boston dethroned the struggling Mavericks, as Harrison Barnes led the squad with 19 points to fall 7 points short of victory.
A rather interesting outcome at halftime, Dallas was outperforming the Celtics by double digits. Coming into tonight with one of the lowest winning percentages in the NBA (7-17 before this game), they were sitting at the bottom. Now, they remain as a struggling team. Promising draft pick Dennis Smith Jr, former NC State one and done stud, scored 12 points and soared for 6 rebounds. For Dallas, maintaining a 39.5% FG percentage kept them neck and neck with Boston for the majority of the game, but a late surge from the Celtics and Celtics fan base drove them past for their 22nd victory of the year. Dallas shot just over 32% from behind the arc, sinking only 9 3’s out of 28 attempts compared to 35% on the Celtics end, burying 12 3’s out of 34 attempts. Clearly both teams utilize the three point shot in their game plans.
With a 22-4 record, Brad Stevens and company is rolling along with ease, getting a slight scare from former Celtics player Rick Carlisle now Mavs head coach, but overcoming the pressure of the subpar Dallas team. Leading the team in points was none other than Kyrie Irving, scoring 23 points in 32 minutes while shooting a fair 10/18 from the field. With Irving running the point, the loss of Jaylen Brown, who is suffering from day to day injuries, had left a void in the wing position. Sticking Marcus Smart in the lineup to give more offensive firepower to rookie Jayson Tatum (17 pts 10 boards) and Al Horford (17 pts 8 boards 8 assists). Coach Stevens also made the adjustment of not playing forward Marcus Morris, a offensive spark when coming off the bench or starting.
Coming off the bench for Boston, point guard Terry Rozier continues to dominate when subbed in. Playing roughly 28 minutes against the Mavs, Rozier accumulated 12 points with 9 rebounds, one more than the 6’10 forward Horford (Rozier is 6’2/6’3). Rumors speculated around the third year guard recently that connected him with the Milwaukee Bucks these past few weeks. As you may of heard, the Bucks acquired Eric Bledsoe from the Phoenix Suns as the new point guard in town. With Bledsoe not cooperating with the Suns, that led to the trade, but the Bucks were looking at prospects before Bledsoe. One name Milwaukee was reportedly interested in was the former Louisville star. Averaging just under 10 points a game with over 4 rebounds, Rozier is shooting towards a starting role in the future, but the Celtics would not accept Rozier offers from anywhere during the Bledsoe fiasco. Fellow point guard Shane Larkin saw an increase in minutes, scoring 11 points alongside Rozier to give the extra push for victory.
Next game: Friday 12/8 @ San Antonio 9:30 pm et