On Wednesday night the Celtics hosted the Dallas Mavericks. Coming into the game the big storyline featured Jason Terry as he matched up against his former team for the first time since joining the Celtics this off season. Although Terry said it was just another game it's been well documented he wasn't pleased when the call never came for him to resign with the Mavs. In a wild double overtime game the Celtics survived and came away with a win 117-115.
The Mavericks were without their former finals MVP and franchise player Dirk Nowitzki. Their team as a whole was completely revamped in the off season similar to the Celtics, matching veteran players with young athletic talent. The Celtics opened up with their traditional line-up of Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett. Of the starters Rondo achieved a career and team high 53 minutes and just missed a triple-double finishing with 16 points, 15 assists, and 9 rebounds. Paul Pierce was the high scorer on the night shooting 11-25 for 34 points, a season high, and added 6 rebounds. Terry struggled against his former team shooting just 3-10 (1-6 from behind the arc) and finished with 10 points in 48 minutes. Finally was Kevin Garnett who went for 16 points and 5 rebounds while keeping the team's defense on lock.
Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) handles the ball against Dallas Mavericks shooting guard O.J. Mayo (32) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
As a whole the Celtics played well but the Mavericks just wouldn't back down. The team led almost the entire game, even by double digits in stretches. In fact, the Mavericks only led for 17 seconds in the game yet managed to tie it up, force two overtimes, and keep it close to the final seconds of the game.
For the Mavericks, O.J. Mayo was the top scorer with 24 on an efficient 10-19 shooting and came into the game leading the league in three point percentage at 53%. Just like Rondo, Mayo finished with 52 minutes in the game and the two battled back and forth in the closing minutes. Darren Collison provided their team with an offensive spark off the bench totaling 20 points on just 8-11 shooting. There was also veteran Vince Carter who played a solid all around night going for 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. With the game hanging in the balance Mayo made numerous tough shots but it was Rondo's pesky defense that forced timely turnovers helping fuel a Boston lead.
The team got a healthy lift from Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox off the bench. Jeff had his fourth straight game of 15 or more points finishing with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Wilcox came in and again provided a great spark for the Celtics front court executing pick and rolls extremely well. He shot 4-5 on the night for 10 points and 6 rebounds.
Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) shoots as he is fouled by Dallas Mavericks guard Darren Collison (4) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
The Celtics defense threw numerous looks at Rick Carlisle and the Mavs, even implementing some zone defense at times. This style of play helped force 28 Maverick turnovers but also left players wide open at times allowing their team to shoot 51.1% on the night. On the opposite end the Celtics had great ball security only turning the ball over 13 times and shot a solid 43% on the night. The other stat columns were very close with the Mavericks winning the rebounding battle 50 to 42 and the assist numbers 27 to 24.
The saying "bend but don't break" could be easily applied to this game as the Celtics held on for the win. Down the stretch we faced some adversity with some tough calls or non-calls led by head referee Joe Crawford. Crawford may be a veteran ref in the NBA and for the most part is a solid official but I must say tonight their were some calls that were certainly questionable.
Luckily the team had some days off coming into tonight's game and it was much needed due to the double overtime. The Celtics hit the road heading to Texas for back-to-back games against Houston Friday night and the San Antonio Spurs Saturday.