Celtics Snap Mavs Win Streak in Rout


Celtics beat Mavericks | Image by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The Boston Celtics easily ended the Dallas Mavericks’ seven-game winning streak, cruising to a 124–95 victory Thursday night at the American Airlines Center.

Dallas only led once Thursday, 9–7, in the middle of the first quarter. Boston blew the game open with a 35-point second quarter to take a 64–46 halftime lead.

The Mavericks would not get closer than 13 after halftime.

Luka Doncic appeared out of sorts, finishing with 23 points, nine rebounds, and three assists. He averaged 41.7 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists during the winning streak.

Doncic coughed, seemed out of breath, and appeared to grimace on multiple occasions throughout the game. It was noticeable enough that the TNT commentators pointed out how he looked ill and/or injured.

The Mavericks superstar did not play in the fourth quarter, which started with Boston leading by 24.

Meanwhile, the Celtics’ MVP candidate, Jayson Tatum, was in top form. Tatum had 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists for his second career triple-double.

Tatum poured in 13 points in the fourth quarter while Doncic remained on the bench.

Jaylen Brown added 19 points for the Celtics, who bounced back from a head-scratching 150–117 loss in Oklahoma City the night prior when the Thunder were missing 30-point scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.


The ease of the Celtics’ victory probably had more to do with the significant step up in competition than Doncic not appearing to be his usual self.

The combined record of Dallas’ (22–17) seven opponents during its longest winning streak since their lone championship season in 2010-11 was 78–115. Boston (27–12) brought the NBA’s best record to the American Airlines Center on Thursday night.

Three days after rallying from 18 down to win at Houston, the Mavericks certainly realized these were not the lowly Rockets they were chasing.

Perhaps, the Mavericks’ short-handedness caught up to them against the NBA’s best, as they continue to be without three key rotation players.

Maxi Kleber (hamstring surgery) is out indefinitely. Josh Green (right elbow strain) and Dorian Finney-Smith (right adductor strain) have begun light contact work.

Head coach Jason Kidd said Green and Finney-Smith would accompany Dallas on its five-game road trip that begins Sunday in Oklahoma City, with hopes that one or both might return to games toward the end of the trip.

No matter the reason, the Mavericks had no luck against the Celtics this season, losing both matchups against last season’s Eastern Conference finalist. Dallas also trailed big at halftime in a 125–112 loss at Boston on November 23.


Doncic missed all six three-point attempts as the Mavericks finished a putrid 7-of-32 (21.9%) from deep. Dallas is now just 2–9 when Doncic scores under 30 points.

Meanwhile, the Celtics shot 16-of-43 (37.2%) from three-point range, with eight players hitting at least one.

Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon each scored 15 points for Boston, with Smart going 4-of-9 from deep while Brogdon connected on 3-of-5.

The Celtics had much more success moving the ball, finishing with 29 assists compared to the Mavericks’ 15.

Spencer Dinwiddie finished with five assists to lead the Mavericks, and Doncic had three assists, but no one else had more than two.

Tatum’s 10 assists led the game, as the Celtics had five other players with at least three assists.


Asked what he told his team after the game, Coach Kidd described the Celtics as a measuring stick.

“We just lost to the best team in the league,” he said. “You can look and see how they played. The ball was shared. They executed their game plan. They did a lot of things. They got to the Finals last year and have a new coach.”

Dinwiddie, who scored 18 points Thursday, looked on the bright side, noting how the seven-game win streak lifted the Mavericks to fourth place in the West.

“We can’t afford to revert back,” he said. “Obviously, losing to the Celtics, on paper, isn’t the most terrible loss in the world. You just try to have a more cohesive showing and a better defensive showing, of course.”

“But that kind of is what it is, and we move forward and try to start a new win streak.”


The Mavericks waived guard Kemba Walker on Friday morning, a day before the four-time All-Star’s salary would have become guaranteed for the rest of the season.

Walker, 32, averaged 8.0 points and 2.1 assists in nine games with the Mavericks. He signed for the veteran’s minimum in late November.

McKinley Wright IV, a defensive-minded guard on a two-way contract, has recently earned minutes in the rotation over Walker.


The step up in competition continues, as next Dallas hosts the Western Conference’s third-place team, the New Orleans Pelicans (24–14), on Saturday. However, the Pelicans will be without injured All-Star forward Zion Williamson.

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