What have the Celtics done lately?
Boston has been up and down -- mostly down -- but will take on the Mavericks with a three-game winning streak that has boosted their record to 18-33. But all three wins were 10 points or fewer against a team with a similar record, so it's not like the Celtics have been taking out division leaders. In fact, the last time they beat a team that currently has a winning record, it was the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 23.
What's the biggest matchup to watch?
Both top scorers hail from the power forward position, so we'll say that's the position to watch. With that said, Jeff Green's 16.3 points a game comes at a price -- he's only shooting 41.8 percent from the field, down from his career average of 44.5 percent. I don't watch a ton of Celtics basketball, but it's safe to say that asking Green to be the number one option is asking too much, and if was dropped into the second spot, his percentages would rise right back up.
What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against Boston?
It feels like I say this all the time, but outscore them. The Celtics don't have a good offense -- their offensive rating is 98.6, or fifth worst in the league. Meanwhile, the Mavericks have climbed all the way to third with a OR of 108.4. If the Mavericks have a good day on offense, Boston likely can't score enough points to win the game -- EVEN against the Dallas D. It's as simple as that.
Which Mavericks player might be due for a big game?
Shawn Marion's been quiet of late, but I'm sensing he's due for a retro explosion -- something like 20 points, 12 rebounds and a handful of steals and blocks. Fun fact: he's still the Mavericks' fifth-best three point shooter at 36.9 percent -- only behind Dirk and Jose, and also Ricky Ledo and Wayne Ellington.