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3 things from the Mavericks’ loss to the Celtics, 119-110

Even catching Boston on a back-to-back didn’t tilt things enough in Dallas’ favor to manage a win

NBA: Boston Celtics at Dallas Mavericks Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Boston Celtics 119-110 at home on Monday night. Jayson Tatum poured in 39 for Boston with Jaylen Brown chipping in 34 as well. Luka Doncic scored 33 in defeat for Dallas.

In their first game in five days, at home against a Boston team on a back-to-back and without Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas couldn’t quite steal one against one of the league’s best teams. The Mavericks battled in the first quarter, but the Celtics poured in at least eight threes in the second quarter. Tim Hardaway helped keep things close, but following half time, Dallas found themselves down double digits for most of the rest of the game. They mounted a few fake comebacks, but it wasn’t to be.

Luka Doncic finished with 33/18/13 - a huge stat line for sure, but getting there wasn’t exactly efficient. Kyrie Irving did his part, contributing 23 points, and Josh Green had a strong game scoring 14 while shooting 4-of-7 from three and bringing his usual defensive energy. It wasn’t enough to stop Jayson Tatum, who led Boston with 39/11/5.

First half frustrations

Luka’s final stat line looked as jam-packed as ever, but getting there was not pretty. The Celtics brought their physical defense to Dallas, and for Doncic that meant taking two shots to the face from Jaylen Brown – neither of which were called. So, already, he was no fan of the game’s officiating.

Add to that going 0-5 from three and you could sense Doncic was getting more and more testy. It ended, as it usually does, with a technical foul called on Doncic after he committed a foul on Jayson Tatum that he disagreed with.

His play picked up as the game came within reach in the fourth, but a more Luka Magic-esque first half might’ve been enough to snowball a tired Celtics squad on the second game of a back-to-back. As it was, Boston is just too good a team to let a winnable game slip between their fingers.

Pocket challenge

Mavericks’ head coach Jason Kidd loves using his “use it or lose it” timeout. (A team can only use a maximum of four timeouts in the fourth quarter, forfeiting unused timeouts.) He never lets an opportunity go by to use his “free” timeout. He, apparently, does not feel the same way about challenges.

With the Mavs having finally fought their way to only a seven-point deficit with just over four minutes to go in the fourth, Tim Hardaway Jr brushed by Jaylen Brown, committing some exceedingly light contact, as Brown shot a three from the corner. Brown made the shot, and the shooting foul on Hardaway made it a four-point trip down the court for Boston. Lead back to 11.

Would it have been overturned? Maybe not, but you do yourself no good keeping those challenges in your pocket. At the very least, it is simply another timeout you can use to game plan, and best-case scenario, you save your team a crucial point in a game that seemed like it had a shot to get close.

For the taking

Things were looking up early. Dallas came out and won the first quarter - no easy thing against Boston, the league’s best first-quarter team with a +4.8 point differential. It was the hallmark of a tired team on a back-to-back. Their shots weren’t falling and they ended the frame shooting just 8-of-22 from the field. The two-point lead Dallas had was quickly erased in the ensuing two quarters when the Celtics jumpers began to find the net.

However, with Boston’s lead at just 11 (down from 16 earlier) to start the fourth, it felt like it was still a winnable game if Dallas was just got a little hot. They did what they had to defensively, holding Boston to just 6 points in the opening four and a half minutes of the quarter. However, their offense, which was supposed to buoy them through this season, no questions asked, didn’t come along for the ride. Dallas managed just five points in that same time frame, and that was it. Opportunity gone. The Celtics wrapped up the game rather uneventfully.