The Boston Celtics are in the air ... and out of a job, if you count the Wednesday morning firing of Houston coach Kevin McHale, a former Celtics great and a close friend of Dallas coach Rick Carlisle.
A few years ago, before McHale got the Houston job, he served as a volunteer staff at Mavs training camp. That was a way to idle away the time -- something his Rockets players, especially James Harden, have done while on the court in that team's 4-7 start.
Carlisle almost certainly has some thoughts about McHale's ouster ...
... but obviously his greater concern is working to help his Mavs win a fifth straight game with they tip tonight (6:30 p.m.) at Boston. (The DB.com GameThread is here.) The 6-4 Celtics are also hot, having won three straight blowouts.
"We've played 10 games," said coach Brad Stevens. "So if we're in a good position after 65 or 70 then you'd look at it differently but everybody's trying to find themselves now and we've got to get a lot better, too."
The 7-4 Mavs are "finding themselves'' under the leadership of Dirk Nowitzki and the ramp-up of rehabbing players like Chandler Parsons, who scored 20 in a half of work in Monday's win at Philly.
"We've been waiting for a game when we all kind of put it together, and that's going to be a fun game when that happens," Parsons said. "But it's promising that we're still winning games, getting stops when we need to. We look forward to that game where everyone's got the hot hand with the potent offense that we all expect it to be."
Is tonight the night that CP busts from his minutes limit?
"I know I'm coming out when I get to that 20-minute mark," said Parsons. "Hopefully extend it out in Boston and see how it feels."
While the Mavs have won five straight over the Celtics -- and have won the last nine meeting when Nowitzki plays -- this is a different Celtics team now featuring the hot Avery Bradley and old friend Jae Crowder. In fact, this very Boston team played Houston on Monday and crushed McHale's club ... essentially leading to his firing.
So yes, there is a Celtic theme to the news of the day.