Shawn Marion is slated to return for the Dallas Mavericks when they travel to Boston for a matchup with the Celtics tonight. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics host Mavs tonight, Marion to play


Shawn Marion has missed one third of this NBA season due to injury, but expects to start for his Dallas Mavericks tonight against the Boston Celtics.

Marion has missed the past two games with a groin strain, and had previously missed 5 games due to an MCL sprain – but announced at this morning’s shootaround at TD Garden that he will be ready to go against the host Celtics.

The 11-10 Mavericks will be looking to extend their season high three game winning streak as the teams tip off at 8:00pm.

“I’m feeling good. I’m ready to go,” said the 13 year veteran who has averaged 9.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in 14 games this season.

Nicknamed “The Matrix” for his freakish athleticism, the versatile Marion has also played for the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors before carving out his niche in Dallas, helping the Mavericks to the NBA title two years ago.

He will be facing former teammate and good friend Jason Terry for the first time since Terry signed with Boston this past offseason.  Marion and Terry share a common bond as Terry was selected just after Marion in the 1999 NBA draft.  Marion was taken ninth overall by the Phoenix Suns while Terry went to the Atlanta Hawks with the following pick.

Terry played eight seasons for the Mavericks, winning the 2009 Sixth man of the Year award and an NBA title with Marion for the 2011 season.

“We’ve got a bond for life together,” Marion remarked of his friend. “It’s going to be a little bit different playing against him, but it is what it is.”

The Celtics will be looking to build upon their solid defensive efforts of late.  Boston has split their last six games, but have limited foes to 40.2  percent shooting in that span after allowing them to shoot 46.3 percent in their  first 14 games.

Good defense was a main reason why Boston posted its third straight home win,  92-79 over Philadelphia on Saturday. The Celtics limited the 76ers to 39.2  percent from the field.

“Our defense is why we won,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought the first  half, going zone, man and back and forth is good for us. And again when you play  defense like that, you usually win games.”

Forward Jeff Green echoed Rivers’ sentiments. “We’re not  allowing guys to turn the corner. I think we allowed guys to do that a lot the  first part of the season. We just need to continue what we’re doing.”

Dallas has won four straight against the Celtics, but have a difficult task to extend that streak with center Dirk Nowitzki out after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, so the return of Marion to the lineup is welcome news.

Tags: Boston Celtics Dallas Mavericks