Dallas defeated the Celtics in Boston by a score of 95-92 in what is one of the team’s best wins of the season. After a first half that only a true hooper could love ended with a score of 47-38 in favor of Boston, the two teams went to the wire to deliver a fantastic game. Even more fantastic if you happened to be rooting for Dallas.
13: Number of points scored by Dorian Finney-Smith in the third quarter
Dallas managed only 38 points in the entire first half, but then came out of the tunnel and put up a huge 38-point quarter that erased a Celtic lead that was threatening to get out of control. The engine behind Dallas’ huge pivot was a stellar all-around performance from Dorian Finney-Smith who contributed 13 huge points by shooting 5-of-6 from the floor and 3-of-4 from deep in the frame. All the while, playing his hard-nosed brand of defense to hold Jayson Tatum to just 1-of-5 shooting in the quarter.
The whole team had to execute to turn a nine-point deficit into a three-point lead heading into the fourth, but Finney-Smith’s stand-out two-way performance was key.
2: Number of huge threes cashed by Spencer Dinwiddie
There wasn’t much to cheer about for Mavs fans in the first half. At least not until Spencer Dinwiddie heaved in a 32-foot bomb at the end of the half to keep the Celtic lead in single digits. (Dorian Finney-Smith opened the third by hitting a three, so the two plays sliced six points off Boston’s lead in technically seconds.)
That heave might have been nothing more than a fun highlight for Panda Hank’s post game recap video if not for Dinwiddie stepping up huge as the game clock ticked towards double zeros.
With the game tied, the clock under 10 seconds, and the shot clock even lower, some Doncic/Dinwiddie two-man game freed up Spencer for an open look. His three-pointer hit to give the Mavericks a 3-point lead in a see-sawing fourth quarter that they held onto for the win.
1: Enormous coach’s challenge
Following Dinwiddie’s clutch three pointer, Boston called a time out and ran a play that ended with a Marcus Smart three to tie the game. The shot was off, but a foul was called on Luka Doncic who made contact with Smart’s empty hand after the ball had left.
The ABC crew calling the game were certain we’d see Smart shooting three free throws when the game returned from commercial, but lo and behold, TV announcers aren’t necessarily well-informed on the letter of the NBA laws.
Per NBA rule, making contact with the hand of a shooter after they’ve released the ball (aka a “high five”) is not a foul.
ESPN’s NBA rules expert and former referee Steve Javie had to come on and explain the rule to a semi-incredulous Hubie Brown and, likely, 99.9% of Celtic fans yelling at their TVs. Nevertheless, it was the right call, and, for once, it felt like Dallas caught a break. It couldn’t have come at a better time.
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