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3 takeaways as the Mavericks lose 90-83 to the Celtics and fall to 2-8

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The Mavericks continue to struggle to get points despite a strong game from Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks lost 90-83 to the Celtics in an contest that saw each team try to win the game while scoring the least points possible in the first half.

The Mavericks also had to deal with injuries to JJ Barea and Deron Williams. The return of Williams to the starting lineup did not add speed or offense to the Mavericks as they plodded their way to a 3-11 deficit early. Boston made their first five shots and the Mavericks started out approximately one for forty four (ok, one of eight). Williams also lasted only ten minutes as he re-injured his ankle on a near all-donuts line.

In the second quarter, the Celtics caught whatever the Mavericks caught in the Knicks game as the two teams combined for 24 points. Dallas Cowboys Mavericks got the better of the New England Patriots Boston Celtics 14-10.

With Williams out, Barea got back into the starting lineup. An 8-2 Barnaissance burst kick-started the Mavericks in the third as they got some hot shooting from Wesley Matthews and energy points from Dwight Powell and Justin Anderson. The Mavericks finally got their first lead in the fourth as their defense clamped down and got enough scoring from Barnes and Matthews, who got hot from deep with six 3s. Still, the Celtics were able to reclaim the lead behind Isaiah Thomas who started using the turbo button to make threes, hit free throws and edge Barnes for leading scorer of the game 30-28.

The Celtics backcourt is really good

With The One That Got Away (Jae Crowder) and Al Horford out, the scouting report for dummies on the Celtics was to stop their backcourt. Thomas came in averaging 27 points per game as the best pound-for-pound scorer in the NBA. Avery Bradley was their leading rebounder with 8.3 per game and has had a double every other game.

The Mavs played Clankball to hold Thomas to 10 points over three quarters but Thomas hit the microwave switch to score 20 in the fourth. The memo to box out Bradley got snatched as Bradley notched nine rebounds against Dallas in the first-half alone and finished with 18 and 13. At the end of the day, Thomas and Bradley are blossoming into All-Stars but finish reading the whole report next time, young Mavericks.

The Mavericks lost the rebounding battle

Speaking of boxing out, the Mavericks lost this game on the boards. They were outrebounded 32-53, falling behind by 22-40 at one point. Powell and Bogut put up some resistance with 8 and 7 respectively but in general, there were a lot of rebounds to be had with Clankball and the Mavericks didn’t capitalize.

The Mavericks were happy to let the smallest Celtics own the boards behind 6’2” rebounding giant Avery Bradley (13), 6’4” Marcus Smart (7) and even the 5’9” Thomas (4) out-rebounded all but two Mavericks.

Barnes the player is becoming Barnes the leader

Barnes put the team on his back in the third, taking all the shots for a few straight possessions when the Mavericks needed someone to play catch up. For the rest of the second half, he made shots, found teammates and made key steals. He didn’t do it the easy way as he didn’t make a single three. The only thing he didn’t do was rebound (but neither did the rest of the Mavs).

Beyond the stats, I loved seeing his ownership, a word you hear tossed around all too often in the office. The Celtics put strong defenders in Smart and Bradley on him but for the most part, Barnes was able to trade buckets with Thomas, a legit NBA closer. The Celtics knew who was getting the ball and Barnes said “so what?”.

Now if we can get him some help. Dirk?