Celtics top Mavericks despite defensive difficulties


Ugly is such a strong, negative word.  Let’s just call the Boston Celtics’  double overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks “Homely”.

But no matter.  A win is a win, and the Celtics will take it.  But they can’t be happy with the lethargic defense.

Twice the Celtics built big leads off of Mavericks’ turnover binges, then seemingly had little interest in playing defense when the errors dried up, leading to the sloppy 117-115 double overtime victory over Dallas Wednesday night in Boston.

But perhaps more intriguing than the game itself were the many storylines.

Dec 12, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics power forward Jeff Green (8) makes the basket against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half at the TD Garden. Celtics defeated the Mavericks in double overtime 117-115. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, Celtic’s guard Jason Terry going up against his old team dominated the headlines, and Terry looked a little amp’d up and never really got into a rhythm, ending up with 10 points on 3 of 10 shooting.  Then there was the the Dirk Nowitzki non-factor as he sat on the bench in street clothes, nursing a knee that had been recently scoped.

Fortunately for the Mavericks, the best storyline was that of oft-injured forward Shawn Marion coming off a two game stint on the mend, the result of a strained groin – and he was a beast, scoring 16 points and cleaning the glass for 11 boards – and finding time to dish out 7 dimes and reject a couple of Celtics’ offerings.

But the strangest of all the storylines coming into the game was Kevin Garnett’s curious rebounding slump…well, maybe not a slump, but curious nonetheless.

Before Saturday’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers, Garnett had come down with at least one board in 1,159 consecutive games – Including playoffs, that’s roughly 13 seasons – Then, inexplicably, it was gone.  The longest current rebounding streak in the NBA was over.

Garnett started a new streak, grabbing five boards to go along with 16 points.  Rajon Rondo led the Celtics in rebounding with 9, and also chipped in 16 points and dished out 15 assists, falling one board short of yet another triple-double.

Paul Pierce led all scorers with 34 points while taking down 6 rebounds and Jeff Green contributed 15 and 5 off the bench for Boston, now 12-9.

Dallas got balanced scoring across the roster, with O.J. Mayo scoring a team high 24.  Derek Collison contributed 20 off the bench to lead 7 players in double figures for the Mavericks, who had a three game winning streak snapped, falling to 11-11.

Pierce was the hero in the second overtime, nailing a 3 pointer to give the Celtics the lead, then making it hold up by hitting 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch.

Rondo had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but Derek Fisher got a piece of the ball and it floated just a few feet. Pierce also had a chance at the end of the  first overtime, but his shot was blocked by Dahntay Jones.

The Mavericks committed 27 turnovers, but the Celtics allowed them to stay in the game with 51% shooting and a couple of long defensive lapses which resulted in extended runs by Dallas to keep the score close.

Next, the Celtics travel to Houston for the second leg of the Texas Trifecta, playing the Rockets Friday night and then traveling to San Antonio to take on the 18-4 Spurs on Saturday night, while the Mavericks continue their north country tour, visiting Toronto on Friday and Minnesota Saturday.