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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Back to backs are going to be an issue all season, huh?

A win slipped thru the Boston Celtics' hands last night as they suffered a couple defensive breakdowns in crunch time and as a result, lost 89-87 to the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Arena.

Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks (4-2) with a game-high 25 points and Jason Terry added 17 points off the bench. Not surprisingly, they both made the biggest shots in the win. Terry hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 87 and then Nowitzki hit a mid-range jumper over Glen Davis (8 points).

Boston (6-2) had two chances to tie or win it but an uncontested 3-pointer by Rajon Rondo (11 points, 15 assists, 6 rebounds, 5 steals) and a fadeaway three by Kevin Garnett (18 points, 15 rebounds) are not exactly the first, second or third options in a late-game situation.

Despite having their five-game win streak snapped, this one had some meaning for the Celts since KG had probably his most impressive game yet (3 alley-oops from Rondo). Let's close the book on last season, time has caught up to him somewhat but he's not washed up yet and that's a big development for this team.

Paul Pierce also had a very nice game with 24 points and seven rebounds. Ray Allen had 11 points. Jermaine O'Neal left the contest in the second quarter and didn't return with knee soreness. Can we merge him and Shaq together? There's just no way either of them is healthy for more than half a season apart.

Tyson Chandler had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Dallas, Caron Butler and JJ Barea (Northeastern in the house!) added 11 points apiece and the ageless Jason Kidd had a classic JKidd line: 0 points, 10 assists.

In the second night of a back to back, against two playoff teams, the Celts started off slowly as usual. The Mavs led 23-19 after the first quarter and 50-40 at the half (the first time this season that Boston has trailed by double digits).

Dallas is a team that lives on jumpers (which is why they choke every year in the playoffs) so when those didn't fall in the third quarter, the Cs climbed back in (29-20).

Boston was up by five late in the fourth quarter (19-18 Dallas) but couldn't get enough stops and/or timely buckets to get a nice road victory.

Dallas shot 50.0% to Boston's 41.8%. The Mavs also took 13 more free throws (20-7) and made 10 more (17-7). Boston had four more rebounds (42-38), four more assists (24-20) and five more steals (11-6). Dallas had six more blocks (8-2), showing how little lift there was in Boston's legs (third game in four nights).

The Cs get a couple days off then travel to Miami on Thursday to face LeBron, Wade, Bosh and the Heat for the second time this season. I guess the NBA is taking a page out of MLB's playbook to have overkill early in the regular season of the money matchups (ala Red Sox-Yankees). Thank you Donald Sterns.

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