Celtics close out road trip with 111-98 win over Mavericks

Celtics close out road trip with 111-98 win over Mavericks

The Celtics left Boston playing their best basketball of the season with seven straight wins. And now that their four-game West coast trip is over, they once again find themselves rolling a nice wave of momentum.

Boston’s 111-98 win over Dallas (22-33) on Monday was an impressive victory to extend the Celtics’ winning streak to three in a row.


Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 29 points while Marcus Smart, who grew up in nearby Flower Mound, Texas, had 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting.

Dirk Nowitzki had 18 points for the Mavericks, who also got decent scoring from Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews as they chipped in with 19 and 18 points, respectively.

Along with getting a season sweep, Boston also improved its road win total to 17 which is tops among all teams in the Eastern Conference.

The final score was not indicative of a game that for the most part was only separated by a couple of possessions.

The fourth quarter was a defensive slugfest at the start with neither team showing signs of taking control of the game as Boston seemingly did just enough to keep the Mavericks at bay despite another big game from undrafted rookie Yogi Ferrell who led Dallas with 20 points.

With Boston’s lead down to 90-87 in the fourth, the Celtics went on a 10-2 run to push their lead to 100-89 with a 3-pointer by Thomas being the final straw for Dallas coach Rick Carlisle who called a time-out with 4:31 to play.

Seconds after the time-out, Dirk Nowitzki completed a 3-point play that made it a single digit game again. Boston responded with a lay-up by James Young who was seeing quality minutes in the fourth quarter.

After a defensive stop, Jae Crowder – drafted by Dallas and traded to Boston – drilled a 3-pointer, posed as it went through the net as Carlisle called yet another time-out with 3:36 to play and his team trailing 105-92.

From there, Boston’s control was never an issue.

Pulling away in the final quarter was in many ways similar to how Boston (36-19) closed out the first quarter of play.

Boston, facing one of the hottest teams in the NBA, were able to close out the first quarter with a 7-2 spurt to lead 30-28.

The Celtics’ strong finish to the first carried over into the second with a 10-2 spurt capped off by a 3-pointer Gerald Green which gave Boston its first double-digit lead, 40-30.

Boston’s control remained strong throughout the quarter which ended with Boston ahead 61-50.

The Mavericks stepped up their play defensively in the third, limiting the Celtics to 8-for-22 in the quarter by outscoring the Celtics 32-22 in chopping Boston’s lead down to just 83-82.

Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

AP Photo

Celtics look to continue rolling on the road

It seems all season we’ve talked about the Boston Celtics overcoming adversity, whether it be a bad injury to a key player or a blown assignment leading to a loss.

Nowhere is this more apparent than their play on the road this season which ranks among the best in the NBA.

The Celtics will look to continue on their road warrior-like ways tonight at New Orleans, a team that’s fighting for playoff position in the tighter-than-usual Western Conference.

In recent years, the terrain has been rough for teams from the East venturing into Western Conference territory.

For this year’s Celtics?

Not so much.

Boston comes into tonight’s game with a 17-7 record against Western Conference teams, tops among all teams in the East.

And while Boston has eight road games left this season, they are on pace to finish with one of the best road records in franchise history.

Currently 24-9 away from the TD Garden (tops in the East, third overall in the NBA), that’s a winning percentage of .727 which is the fourth-highest in franchise history.

Here are five under-the-radar story lines to keep an eye on when the Boston Celtics take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight.


It’s a given that Al Horford will spend time defending Anthony Davis tonight. And while Davis will likely have a strong night scoring the ball, you can count on Horford making it extremely tough on him. When the two teams met on Jan. 16, Davis was 8-for-19 shooting for 16 points in 52 possessions when defended by Horford. For the game, Davis had 45 points on 16-for-34 shooting.


We’ve seen “Playoff" Rondo and “National TV" Rondo deliver some impressive performances in the past. What will we see from “Well-Rested” Rondo? The Pelicans gave the ex-Celtic the night off on Saturday as to not play him in back-to-back games. Of the two games, it made sense to sit him against the Rockets and have him ready to roll against a Boston Celtics team that will not have its full complement of players available.


Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry had some choice words about the officiating in New Orleans’ 107-101 loss to Houston on Saturday that he clearly felt cost his team a better chance at winning. The only cost in play now is how big will the check be that he’ll pay the league for his comments about the officiating. His issue was that Anthony Davis doesn’t get enough calls based on the physical abuse he takes per game. Davis ranks fourth in the NBA in free throw attempts (7.8) per game, but only had four attempts against the Rockets. It’ll be worth watching whether the Pelicans, 16th in the league in free throw attempts (21.4) per game, will get to the line significantly more or less than their season average.


One of the keys to Boston’s improved play since returning to the floor since the all-star break, has been their ability to begin games with strong play. Boston has outscored their opponent in the first quarter each of the last eight games, and 10 of 11. In addition, Boston has been ahead at the half in each of their 10 games since the all-star break, which comes on the heels of trailing at the half in the seven games prior to the break.


Jayson Tatum has been one of the most impactful rookies in the NBA this season which will likely land him a spot on the NBA’s all-rookie first or second team. One of the strengths of Tatum has been his durability, evident by him being one of just two first-year players to appear in each of his team’s games played this season. He is joined by Memphis’ Dillon Brooks.


WATCH: Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans

NBC Sports Boston illustration

WATCH: Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics play the Pelicans in New Orleans. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 5:30  p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Can C's slow down Anthony Davis?

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