The Boston Celtics showed that Monday.
Dallas held on in the final few seconds of the opener of an epic
homestand, slipping by the lottery-bound Celtics 94-89.
"We didn't shoot it great, but overall, we did enough to win,"
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "We won three of the four
quarters. We had a dry third quarter, but they didn't score all that
well themselves that quarter either. Pretty typical, both teams
playing a back-to-back-type game."
All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points for Dallas, which
improved to 41-27 after the first of eight consecutive games at
American Airlines Center. The Mavericks matched their victory total
of last season, the first non-playoff campaign for the franchise
Dallas is charging toward a postseason return by going a season-high
14 games over .500 after its fifth win in six games. The Mavericks
are seventh in the Western Conference and just one game behind the
sixth-place Golden State Warriors.
The Celtics (22-46) dropped their fifth game in a row, and they
finished the season 0-15 against the West on the road. Boston lost
for the seventh time in the past eight meetings with Dallas.
"We're not giving up," Celtics guard Jerryd Bayless said. "Obviously
the season hasn't gone as expected, but we're not going to give up,
and everyone is going to continue to compete every night."
The Celtics didn't fade away Monday. Despite falling behind by
double digits several times in the second half, Boston constantly
Bayless' 3-pointer from the corner cut Dallas' lead to 85-83 with
1:45 remaining. Nowitzki answered with a 3-pointer to get the
advantage up to five.
That didn't last long. After Boston backup center Kelly Olynyk
scored on an offensive rebound, guard Avery Bradley (11 points) made
it 90-89 after stealing the ball from Dallas guard Monta Ellis and
slamming it with 21.6 seconds remaining.
After two free throws by Ellis, Bayless missed twice in the lane,
with the second shot blocked by Dallas guard Vince Carter. The
Mavericks iced the win at the line.
"It is St. Patty's Day, a little bit of luck probably helped with
that," Dallas reserve guard Devin Harris said. "We turned it up for
a little stretch in the fourth quarter, but we have to do a better
job of finishing the game."
Ellis finished with 17 points, and forward Shawn Marion scored 11 to
go along with six rebounds. Harris did most of his damage in the
fourth quarter, finishing with 12 points and six assists. Forward
Brandan Wright went 5-for-5 to score 10 points in 17 minutes off the
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Bayless scored 19, including nine consecutive points during Boston's
fourth-quarter push. Olynyk had 16 points and nine rebounds, and
fellow reserve center Jared Sullinger scored 13 and grabbed nine
The Mavericks avoided an All-Star-caliber point guard for the second
consecutive night. Oklahoma City rested Russell Westbrook on Sunday,
and the Celtics followed by putting Rajon Rondo on the shelf. Rondo
played Sunday in Boston's overtime loss to the Pelicans in New
"That's two games in a row that we've been down 10 with six minutes
left to go, came back and given ourselves a chance to win," Boston
coach Brad Stevens said. "It's a credit to the guys in the locker
room, obviously. Playing without Rondo, I thought Jerryd played
fantastic, especially in that fourth quarter."
The Mavericks went into halftime up 50-43 after a 17-6 run to finish
out the second quarter. Boston reeled off 13 consecutive points
before Dallas' spurt.
Dallas appeared on the verge of blowing the game open by taking a
64-49 lead in the third period. The Celtics, however, ended the
quarter with a 12-0 run to trail just 64-61 going into the final 12
NOTES: The Mavericks started a franchise-record eight-game homestand
Monday. They won't play on the road for the rest of this month. The
next away game for Dallas is April 3 at the Los Angeles Clippers.
"There's opportunity here," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of
the home stretch, "but it's going to be very challenging, too." ...
Boston finished the season winless on the road against the West.
"The West is clearly better than the East," Celtics coach Brad
Stevens said. "I don't think anybody would argue that, but at the
same time we've had our chances in a couple of those games." ...
Dallas G Monta Ellis played Sunday despite dealing with an illness,
and he was back in the starting lineup Monday.
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