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Four-Pointer: Previewing the Boston Celtics

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The Celtics come into Dallas losers of four straight. They are rebuilding but can still play a high level of defense.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
What has Boston done lately?

On Sunday, the Celtics lost a close overtime game to the New Orleans Pelicans, 121-120. Anthony Davis went for 40 points and 21 rebounds for the Pelicans. Meanwhile, Jeff Green had 39 points for the Celtics. Boston has now lost four games in a row.

What stat, player or fact might surprise you about the Celtics?

Dallas drafted Kelly Olynyk 13th overall in the 2013 draft and then traded his rights to Boston. He is averaging 7.5 points per game and five rebounds. His shooting percentages aren't great making 43.3 percent of field goals and 31.3 percent on threes. He is in mostly a reserve role but has proven he has the skills to develop into a successful NBA big man.

What's the biggest matchup to watch?

The play of the backcourts will be a major factor in Monday's game. Boston will likely start Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless. Rajon Rondo would obviously the biggest threat to pick apart the Mavericks' defense with his passing. However, he will not be suiting up Monday as he does not play in the second game of a back-to-back. Bayless is a known scorer and Bradley is a lockdown defender. Each of these players poses a significant matchup problem for Dallas. Namely, who does Jose Calderon guard?

Monta Ellis will split time guarding each probably. Shawn Marion could also guard one of them if they get hot. After Jeff Green's 39 point outburst on Sunday, Marion will have his hands full there. Rick Carlisle doesn't have the option of hiding Calderon on defense. However, Calderon isn't out there to defend, he's out there to facilitate, space the floor, and shoot threes.

This game could feature a healthy dose of Devin Harris.

What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against the Celtics?

Boston defends the three-point line really well. Opponents connect on just 34.5 percent of their three-point attempts. The three-ball is such an important weapon in Dallas' arsenal that they have to find a way to get quality looks from behind the arc. If they can't, this game will be closer than anyone would like.