BOSTON – Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas once again set the tone for the Boston Celtics who go into the half leading the Dallas Mavericks 39-31.
Bradley scored the first five points of the game and the Celtics steadily pulled away and led by as many as 12 points.
But Celtics head coach Brad Stevens certainly wasn’t happy with the way the half ended as the Mavericks scored the last four points to cut Boston’s lead to single digits.
The Mavericks welcomed the return of Deron Williams who has missed the previous four games, but he was a non-factor in the first half.
But they were still playing without Dirk Nowitzki whose Achilles injury has kept him out for the last five games.
No sympathy from the Celtics who continue to be without Al Horford (concussion) and Jae Crowder who missed their eighth and seventh game, respectively.
Boston only shot 39 percent from the field in the first half which is usually a sign of trouble.
But they made up for it with a dominant effort on the glass as they outrebounded the Mavs 33-20.
If the first half seemed to breeze by those watching it on CSN, there’s a reason for that: free throws.
Neither team went to the line in the second quarter, something you seldom see in the NBA.
Here are the first half Stars, Studs and Duds from tonight’s game.
Bradley was a big part of Boston getting off to a strong start, trending towards a double-double after a strong first quarter in which he had 12 points and six rebounds. Bradley finished the half with 12 points and nine rebounds.
He did a nice job of finding that balance between being a scorer and setting his teammates up for easy scores. At the half, he had eight points and four assists.
With no Dirk Nowitzki, Barnes has to be Dallas’ go-to guy. At the half, he leads the Mavs with eight points.
The Celtics have been among the NBA’s best this season in committing a low number of turnovers. But that wasn’t the case in the first half which ended with Boston turning the ball over seven times after having averaged 12.9 per game which is the 10th-lowest mark in the league this season.