The Dallas Mavericks (46-22) are trying to catch up to the Denver Nuggets as the seeding tightens in the Western conference. They start a stretch of three games in four nights by welcoming the "retribution" seeking Boston Celtics (44-24) to the American Airlines Center.
Which crafty veteran team comes away with a win in this sure to be slugfest?
Game as a Whole:
The Dallas Mavericks were right there the entire night. This game is an unfortunate event, as it seemed that the Mavericks grabbed defeat straight from the jaws of victory. The Mavericks were up 85-72 with around eight minutes to go in the game and they looked like they were finally starting to pull away from the Celtics after playing behind almost the entire night. That’s when Rajon Rondo started to exploit the speed of Jason Kidd helping to land the knockout blow against this Dallas team.
Only compounding the fact that Kidd was slow on defense was the final miss cue on offense that led to a turnover in the waning minutes of the game with the Mavericks desperately needing a score to try to even the game. Give both teams credit, they played amazing defense all night but when it really mattered Boston turned up the heat on the Mavericks and they couldn’t take it. Before the game got to this point, it would have been nice to see Beaubois come in and put some pressure on Rondo. Instead, Dallas let him drive and dish his way to a Boston victory.
Some encouraging points can be gleaned from tonight’s loss. Marion has been coming on late and seems to have his scoring touch back. The Mavericks scored almost a third of their points in the paint.
Let’s look at the quarters…
- Nowitzki harasses Garnett on his first shot with some stifling defense (a rarity for Dirk).
- 11:41, Mavericks run on their first possession and Rajon Rondo has nothing else to do but pick up the foul as Marion drives to the hoop.
- 11:03, Paul Pierce is draped all over Nowitzki, the refs aren’t having any of that as Pierce is called for the foul.
- 10:23 Haywood momentarily taking the ball up the court is a scary proposition. He also gets a little dribble going out at the elbow.
- Nowitzki is moving around a ton tonight, game plan must be to keep Garnett moving.
- Very sloppy passing early on tonight for both teams tonight
- 8:14, Marion hits his second flip shot of the night.
- 7:37, Rushed layup from Marion, he is getting a ton of touches tonight and being extremely aggressive.
- 6:46, Dampier comes in for the first time tonight.
- 5:57, Kidd hits Marion as another fast-break opportunity develops. Boston is having trouble with their transition defense.
- 5:15, The AAC welcomes Jason Terry to the game with mask in tow.
- 4:44, Pierce is playing absolutely no defense on Marion.
- 4:02, Erick Dampier gobbles up an offensive rebound and gives one pump fake for a score. Happy to not see him throw down a dribble before putting the ball back up (hate when centers do that).
- 2:23, Is it me or is Dallas having trouble holding onto rebounds tonight?
- 1:29, Najera getting a little bit of playing time to close out the quarter. Celtics are building up their lead right now.
- 1:16, Butler doing what he does best, hitting the midrange jumper.
- :28.4, Terry with the leak out picks up the "and-1" and gives the Mavericks the opportunity for a 2 for 1.
- :4.9, The worst foul is one that is committed when there is only one second left on the shot clock. Can’t really blame Terry as the strip looked pretty clean.
- Barea kicks off the second quarter. Celtics pick up another defensive three-second violation.
- 11:11, Nowitzki forces a shot clock violation as Rasheed spends too much time trying to dribble around the Maverick forward.
- 10:15, Rasheed fouls Dirk as he takes the ball straight to the cup. Dirk is mixing his game up a bunch tonight
- 9:52, Another defensive three-second violation called on the Celtics, that makes three for the game.
- 9:30, Even though Nowitzki is 1 of 5 so far tonight, Dallas is only down two points.
- 8:37, Jason Terry ties the game up with the short baseline jumper.
- 7:33, Rasheed blows the coverage on Nowitzki as Barea orchestrates the pick and roll.
- 6:20, Boston picks up its fourth team foul of the quarter and the Mavericks are one step closer to being in the bonus.
- The refs are calling the game extremely tight right now.
- 5:35, Dampier passes up a shot (that he should have taken) and the Mavericks can’t claim the lead as Boston goes back ahead by two.
- 4:50, Two outlet passes by Garnett end in steals. Garnett should no longer be allowed to throw outlet passes for the Celtics.
- Haywood completely levels Ray Allen on a screen.
- Even though the game is tight it would be nice to see Beaubois get some minutes here. He would create some match up problems for Boston and stay in front of Rondo.
- 3:09, Kidd takes a closely contested three, he should have given the ball up.
- 2:34, Kidd makes up for a poor decision on the previous three by taking it coast-to-coast for the score.
- 1:38, Rondo stops and tries to draw the charge but Terry easily spins around him.
- 1:03, Najera answers a Ray Allen three with a three pointer of his own.
- 11:30, Mavericks open the quarter with a Dirk miss and an early Haywood foul.
- 10:53, back-to-back three second violations, one for Boston and one for Dallas.
- 9:44, Marion hits a runner and he is single-handedly keeping the Mavericks within striking distance of Boston.
- 9:03, Perkins forces Dirk to pick up the foul by being active in the paint.
- 8:30, A block by Perkins leads to a pull-up three. Surprised that Butler didn’t get the call there. He probably shouldn’t have gone up for the dunk.
- 8:03, Nowitzki passes out of a double team but Butler can’t convert.
- 6:41, Haywood hits the deck to pick up a loose ball and Garnett comes away with a foul.
- 6:23, Butler gets the better of Perkins on his second dunk attempt.
- 5:42, Nowitzki gets a basket on the rare dribble drive.
- 5:17, Boston looks a step slow on everything now. Haywood gets the cover on Ray Allen and then hits a reverse down on the other end.
- 4:02, Butler is getting more aggressive as the night goes on. Grabs his own offensive rebound (Haywood helped) and then gets fouled.
- 2:50, Lot’s of ball movement and the ball eventually ends up in Dirk’s hands for the short jumper.
- 2:30, Haywood with a super nasty block (he wasn’t letting Rondo have an easy shot). Kidd gets an easy layup off the play.
- 1:49, Travel on Butler coming out of the timeout, Mavericks still can’t take the lead after a tie.
- 1:11, It’s only fitting that Kidd gives the Maverick’s their first lead on a three.
- :37.8, Nowitzki is getting whatever he wants against Wallace. Another high arching jumper finds the bottom of the net.
- Haywood gets an offensive foul to end the quarter. Pierce is doing it all for his team.
- Kidd gets a rest as both teams nail their first baskets. Barea comes back in the game to direct the action.
- 10:26, Najera stops a shot clock beating basket by Nate Robinson by drawing the offensive foul.
- 10:07, Nowitzki secures an offensive rebound and drills the put-back jumper. That gives Dallas the lead.
- 9:07, Nowitzki hits his first three pointer of the game and puts the Mavericks up by four.
- 8:47, Rasheed Wallace doing what he does best, getting angry at a call he picks up.
- 7:16, Another short base-line shot for Nowitzki. Ray Allen is keeping Boston in the game now with his three point shooting (can’t believe Boston even thought of getting rid of him).
- 6:48, Back-to-back buckets for Nowitzki, the Mavericks are feeding the hot hand.
- 5:39, Butler has not come back yet tonight for the Mavericks.
- 4:45, Haywood picks up another block and preserves the tie.
- 4:23, Jason Terry left all alone at the top of the elbow. He gets an easy jumper to fall.
- 3:04, Nowitzki gets the "and-1" as he goes around three Celtics to get to the basket.
- 2:03, Butler, chasing an offensive rebound, gets two foul shots as a reward.
- Poor rotations by the Mavericks lead to a Pierce three. Mavericks also blow an offensive possession with a turnover.
- As the ball carries out of bounds the Mavericks hopes of winning go with it.
- Mavericks take the loss 102-93.
Some Choice Statistics:
- Rick Carlisle’s coaching record stands squarely at 642-377.
- Erick Dampier has the best FG% on the Mavericks at 64.6%.
- Nowitzki has scored 1676 points this season.
In this "tune-up" game as Dallas heads toward the playoffs the team didn’t look too bad but they showed that they still have a lot of work to do before the playoffs start.