1. The Mavs came into Wednesday night’s game in Boston winners of four straight games, and looking to make it five before returning home to face Utah on Friday night. In perhaps the toughest game from start to finish that the Mavs have played all season, the Mavs outlasted the upstart Celtics 106-102.
“We had nowhere to go but up,'' said coach Rick Carlisle of the series of early deficits. "They were hot making shots to start the game. And then we just picked up our aggression, really, at both ends. It was a chip-away-type deal. You’re not going to get 18 points back in two or three minutes against this team. It took two-and-a-half quarters for us to get even and then finally get the lead.''
And now it's five straight.
2. Charlie V wasn’t present for this game, as he returned home to his family for the birth of his second child. Congrats Charlie!
3. Deron Williams had a scare early in the first quarter, tweaking his elbow on a drive to the basket. Williams would be just fine however, throwing on an elbow sleeve and returning to action without missing anytime. Williams continues to step for the Mavs in the fourth quarter, and finished the game with 16 and six dimes. ... Though the "scares'' weren't quite done. (Read on!)
4. Dallas got off to a rough start in the first quarter, hitting just over 30 percent from the field. The Celtics on the other hand were hot from the start, shooting over 45 percent in the quarter. The Celtics put together a 18-2 run late in the first the put the Mavs in a big hole 31-16
5. Early in the second quarter Dirk passed Dominique Wilkins for 13th all time in made field goals in NBA history. This guy just continues to break down NBA milestones this season. Dirk finished the evening with 23 points and seven rebounds in 34 minutes; another "Dirkie'' type performance from the Big German.
A member of the Celtics even kinda paid homage to Dirk's patented One-Legged Euro LeanBack ...
"That was coldblooded,'' Dirk said, relaying to the media what he said to Olynyk: 'Don't give me my own move.'"
6. Chandler Parsons had a bag of ice on his knee late in the second quarter, but returned to the game without any setbacks to start the second half. Parsons usage continues to increase as the season progresses, and the bag of ice was likely just another part of the plan to keep him moving forward in his healing.
7. After trailing by as many as 18 points, the Mavs came back with a strong second quarter; cutting the lead to nine points at 54-45 heading into the half. The Mavs ability to shoot the basketball and play smart will always give them the ability to stay in games.
8. The Celtics bench outscored the Mavs 25-15 in the first half. Bench play was a big story line coming into this game, as both teams were in the top five in bench scoring in the NBA.
9. The Celtics also forced eight first half turnovers for the Mavs, a very uncharacteristic half for Dallas who had once again had trouble taking care of the basketball. The Mavs turned the ball over 19 times against Philly on Monday, and really need to get back to taking care of the ball when they take on Utah on Friday.
10. Zaza Pachulia had another great game for the Mavs, scoring 14 points and securing 12 boards on his way to another double-double. Zaza continues to impress in the early parts of this season, and has really been a big part of the Mavs success. With his sixth double-double already this year, Zaza is now on pace for a monster 41 double-doubles this season.
Well, OK, let's be realistic. But still, Zaza is throwing himself into a lot of good moments here ... and only tossed himself into one potentially bad one on Wednesday:
11. If anybody ever wondered how Brad Stevens got Butler to the Final Four, just take a look at the Celtics. This guy can flat-out coach. In two seasons, Stevens has turned a dumpster fire into a damn good basketball team. It’s scary to think what this guy can do if he gets a legitimate NBA superstar to play with.
12. It’s not like Stevens has nothing to work with however, Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart are quickly becoming one of the best young guard tandems in the league. Thomas’s offensive game, combined Smart’s defense and playmaking abilities are a forced to be reckoned with. Combine that with Avery Bradley’s defense and three-point shooting and Stevens has a nice young core to build around for the future.
13. Dallas came out hot to start the second half behind Chandler Parsons’ strong offensive push, and tied the game on a Wes Matthews three with just over nine minutes to go in the third. CP continues to improve as the season progress, but has uncharacteristically struggled from the line this season. Parsons finished the game with eight points in 21 minutes of action.
14. Avery Bradley caused problems for the Mavs early, playing solid defense and shooting extremely well from the floor. Dallas was able to slow him down somewhat as the game progressed though, thanks to great perimeter D from the Mavs guards. Bradley had 18 points, six rebounds and four steals in the game.
15. Dwight Powell’s return to Boston - from where he was swapped to Dallas last season as part of the Rondo trade -- didn’t exactly go as planned for the young big man. Powell had his most unproductive game of the young season, scoring just six points and pulling down six boards.
The block helped, though.
16. After a rough first three quarters, Wes Matthews was able to find his stride and knock down a couple of big threes to keep the Mavs in the game in the fourth quarter. When Wes is hot shooting the ball it’s pretty special, but he has been inconsistent at best so far this season. Wes finished the game five of 11 from the floor, scoring 16 points.
17. J.J. Barea had a high volume of ticky-tack fouls called on him. It seemed as though the refs were calling something just about anytime there was contact in this game. Let grown men play basketball, please.
18. After battling their way back from 18 points down, Dallas finally took its first lead with a D-Will three with 4:16 to go in the game. The Mavs veteran-laden squad is never going to be out of a basketball game when they play like they did in the second half of this game.
19. In the end, the team with more experience won out. The Celtics were relentless in this game, but Dallas hung in and absorbed the Boston haymakers, throwing the deciding one back on a pair of D-Will free throws off of a Ray Felton hustling steal. That steal came after Felton missed an opportunity to close the game out as he missed on a pair of free throws with 16.5 seconds left. But then came the length-of-the-floor sprint and the hustle steal to seal.
“I just can’t say enough about the play that Felton made at the end of the game after the two missed free throws,” Carlisle said. “He sprinted back and he got a deflection. … That was the play of the game. That’s the kind of persistence and wherewithal we’ve got to have.”
The Dirkie/Player of the game: The Big German is our pick, as he finished the game with 23 points and seven boards. But hey this isn’t a dictatorship. Head over to the DB.com message boards and give us your choice for the Dirkie!
Stat(s) of the night: Shooting. After a dreadful start to the game, The Mavs rebounded and shot over 50 percent from the floor to finish out the game. Combine that with Dallas' precious balance. Dallas had four players in double figures, as well as nine points from Felton, eight from CP, and seven from Barea. The Mavs balance just continues to win them basketball games.
This game was over when ... After a Ray Felton steal, D-Will nailed two free throws with 4.4 seconds left to go in the game, putting the Mavs up seven points down the final stretch of the game. D-Will is a closer, period.
Should have seen coming ... Jared Sullinger. Another power forward… another big night for the opposition. After doing a great job against the Rockets and the Lakers inside, the Mavs regressed in the last two games, allowing Sullinger to score 18 points and grab 12 boards in the game.
Couldn't see coming ... The comeback. Dallas showed its veteran stripes in this game, battling back from an 18-point hole to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, and ultimately outlast and even outsmart the Celtics.
Best decision ... Sticking to the game plan. Despite trailing big early in this game, Dallas stuck to its guns and battled itself back into the game. Rick Carlisle is one of the top coaches in the NBA, and his ability to lead Dallas back from this big hole is why he’s got his shiny new five-year deal.
What's next? ... The Mavs will return home for a one-game home stand at the AAC where they will take on the Utah Jazz at 7:30pm on Friday night.
The Final Word: This is Carlisle pregame stuff ... But we think it's good stuff worth sharing here, on Jae, on Powell, on Kevin McHale, and even on The Rondo Trade ...
"We've constructed a deep roster. We've built this thing on depth, and strength in numbers ... You have to have the extra bodies.''
We'll argue that you have to have "stars,'' too. But whatever Dallas is doing right now ... it's winning the argument.