THE NBA’s number one team, the Boston Celtics got their mojo back, silencing the game’s best player and the Dallas Mavericks 124-95 Friday morning (Manila time) in Texas.
They’ve been playing badly the last couple of games going into this stretch, losing a combined 45 points against Oklahoma and Denver to open the new year.
The Dallas Mavericks on the other hand have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games behind some stellar performances from Luka Doncic who’s been averaging 34.3 points a game this season, leading the NBA.
So going into this game, the Celtics, at the very least, were facing an uphill battle to get a result.
Ready for a fight
But Boston had other plans. With five minutes left in the first quarter, Doncic split his free throws which would turn out to be the closest the Mavericks get to the Celtics in the game.
The Celtics ended up leading the Mavericks 29-20 at the end of the first quarter behind a strong defensive effort and some hot shooting behind Malcolm Borgdon’s two 3-pointers that stretched the lead to double figures.
Doncic was having trouble getting into the game as he was well covered by the Celtics defense and seemed hobbled by an injury. He was seen touching his chest and favoring a foot while playing.
Nevertheless he still scored 20 points at the end of the half which is almost half the Mavericks output. He was also missing a lot of shots which he made up for by going to the free throw line.
It was the same story when the game resumed after halftime. The closest the Mavericks got was 14 points from a Christian Wood turn around jumper. It was the Celtics keeping them at bay all the way after that.
Tatum got Celts going
Jason Tatum led the Celtics, who had six players in double figures, with a triple double. He had 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists.
Asked about the team’s turn around for this game he said “ Don’t get too high, don’t get too low, win or lose stay level headed,”.
Luka Doncic had 23 points from an abysmal 7 of 23 shooting. He only had three points in the second half. Doncic was also zero for six from beyond the arc.
Tatum was asked about their defense on Doncic, he said “ Just try to make it tough for him, you know obviously hell of a player, he gets any shot he wants, just get fresh bodies on him.”.
The league leading Boston Celtics continue their road trip to San Antonio while the Mavericks will try to recover against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.