BOSTON – Losing on the road to a one-win New Orleans team, that’s one thing.
But to the Dallas Mavericks without Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles), a limited Deron Williams (ankle) and no J.J. Barea (left leg) down the stretch?
Did we mention their best rim protector, Andrew Bogut, fouled out with 5:17 to play?
But down the stretch, the Celtics found another gear to shift into which was exactly what they needed to pull away in the final minutes of play for a 90-83 win.
CELTICS 90, MAVERICKS 83:
- Highlights: Boston Celtics 90, Dallas Mavericks 83
- Thomas leads Celtics to victory with 'tremendous' fourth quarter
- Stars, studs and duds: Celtics out-rebound Mavs in win
- Celtics player-only meeting contributes to recent improved play
- WATCH: Isaiah Thomas between-the-legs pass to Avery Bradley for the slam
Boston (6-5) has now won three of its last four games while the Mavericks (2-8) continue to rank among the worst teams in the NBA this season.
While the game may have been closer than anticipated, the Celtics still managed to do what the good teams do and that’s find a way to win regardless of the opponent.
Isaiah Thomas took over in the fourth for the Celtics, scoring 22 of his game-high 30 points.
The Mavericks were leaning heavily on Harrison Barnes to carry them down the stretch.
And to his credit, he did a decent job, scoring 12 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth.
The Mavericks also got a strong game from Wes Matthews who had 22 points which included six 3-pointers.
But when it mattered down the stretch, the Celtics leaned on their backcourt tandem of Thomas and Avery Bradley who helped fuel a 10-3 run late in the fourth capped off by an emphatic Bradley dunk that made it an 86-79 game.
Bradley had his sixth double-double of the season, scoring 18 points to go with a game-high 13 rebounds.
Dallas took its first lead on a Justin Anderson lay-up that made it 60-59 with 10:53 to play only for the Celtics to regain it seconds later as Gerald Green found Kelly Olynyk diving to the basket for a go-ahead lay-up.
The Mavericks, playing without Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles), continued to stay within striking distance but the Celtics managed to make all the plays needed to get the win even as they too played short-handed with Al Horford (concussion) and Jae Crowder (left ankle sprain) were also out.