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.
- Highlights: Boston Celtics 111, Dallas Mavericks 98
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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.