Setting the Table: Boston Celtics (Game 22)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 12, 2012 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (11-10) are going for their first four-game winning streak of the year as they take on the Boston Celtics (11-9). The Mavericks are also looking to build on their two-game road winning streak. If they can win against Boston, it will be the first time they’ve won three consecutive road games this season. It will be a reunion night as the Mavericks see Jason Terry for the first time since he left the organization this summer via free agency.

To update you on players, it appears Shawn Marion will play in the game against the Celtics. He had missed the team’s previous two games due to a sprained right groin. It does appear Jae Crowder may not be available for the game as he’s battling an illness (it’s that time of the year).

Here are notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Celtics.

Before the regular routine, here are some interesting developments for the Mavericks during the team’s three-game winning streak:

- Dallas is averaging 110.7 points per game on 50 percent shooting, while their opponents are averaging 99.7 points per game on 44 percent shooting.
- O.J. Mayo has led Dallas in scoring in all three games. He is averaging 27.3 points per game and shooting 57.7 percent from the field, including 66.7
percent from deep. Mayo has also averaged a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game over the last three games.
- Chris Kaman has averaged 17.7 points per game in just 20.3 minutes per game. He has shot 65.8 percent from the field over the last three games.
- Darren Collison is averaging 14.3 points per game on 54.2 percent shooting over the last three games. He has also shot 16-of-18 at the line in that span.
- Brandan Wright has averaged 10.7 points per game on 59.3 percent shooting over the last three contests. He played a total of 47 minutes in Dallas’ previous 10 games.
- Dallas has scored 63-plus points in the first half of the last two games.
- Dallas has outrebounded its opponent in two of the three games.
- Dallas has recorded 12-or-fewer turnovers in two of the three games.

Series Notes:

The Mavericks swept the 2011-12 season series with Boston (2-0) and have now won four straight games against the Celtics (Dallas beat Boston both times in 2010-11, sweeping the Celtics in the regular season for the first time since 2006-07). Dallas held Boston to a series-low 73 points on 2/20/12 (defeated Boston 89-73). The Mavericks won the previous three meetings by five points or less (90-85 on 1/11/12, 101-97 on 2/4/11, 89-87 on 11/8/10). Shawn Marion averaged 13.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 29.0 minutes in two starts against the Celtics last season. With the 90-85 victory over Boston on 1/11/12, the Mavericks have now defeated the Celtics 10 out of the last 13 times on the road. The Mavericks and the Celtics feature seven of the top 20 active NBA scoring leaders: Kevin Garnett (2nd, 24,589), Dirk Nowitzki (3rd, 24,134), Paul Pierce (5th, 22,975), Vince Carter (7th, 21,394), Jason Terry (12th, 16,716), Shawn Marion (17th, 15,955) and Elton Brand (18th, 15,846).

It’s a Small World:

Celtics guard Jason Terry played eight seasons for the Mavericks from 2004-11 and averaged 16.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 32.7 minutes in 619 games (285 starts) with Dallas. Among Mavericks all-time leaders, Terry ranks 6th in points (9,953), 7th in assists (2,524), 6th in field goals (3,719), 2nd in 3-pointers (1,140), 8th in free throws (1,375), 6th in 3-point field goal percentage (38.8), 6th in free throw percentage (84.7), 5th in steals (735), 6th in minutes (20,219) and 6th in games (619). He won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award with Dallas in 2008-09 and was a member of the Mavericks’ 2011 title team.

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was drafted by the Celtics in 1984 (23rd pick in the third round) and played three seasons with Boston. He was a member of the Celtics’ 1986 NBA championship team. Mavericks assistant coach Jim O’Brien was the head coach of the Celtics from 2001-04 and led Boston to back-to-back postseason appearances in 2002 and 2003. Celtics assistant coach Tyronn Lue appeared in 17 games for the Mavericks in 2007-08. Mavericks forward Shawn Marion and Celtics guard Leandro Barbosa were teammates in Phoenix from 2003-08. Celtics forward Brandon Bass played for the Mavericks from 2007-09. Mavericks guard Dahntay Jones was originally drafted by Boston in the first round (20th overall pick) of the 2003 NBA Draft, but had his draft rights traded with Troy Bell to Memphis in exchange for the draft rights to Marcus Banks and Kendrick Perkins. Jones also signed with Boston as a free agent in 2007, but was waived by the Celtics early on in the year. Celtics guard Avery Bradley grew up in Arlington, Texas. Corey Crowder, the father of Mavericks forward Jae Crowder, was a teammate of Celtics head coach Doc Rivers on the San Antonio Spurs in 1994-95.

Three Keys:

1. Use the power of depth. The Mavericks are still rolling with a strong unit off the bench, even without Jason Terry on the roster. The Mavericks have outscored their opponent’s bench in 17 of their first 21 games. Dallas’ bench is averaging 42.0 points per game this season, which ranks third in the NBA (Washington 46.2 bench points per game, San Antonio 42.2 bench points per game). Boston averages 30.3 bench points per game. Terry will definitely try to do his part to keep the bench scoring even, but the Mavericks have plenty in reserve.

2. Force the issue against Boston’s defense. The Celtics have been historically known as a stout defensive squad, but the story is somewhat different this season. Since the start of the 2007-08 season the Celtics have had one of the top ranked defenses in the NBA with their Defensive Rating (team point allowed per 100 possessions) never being below 5th in the NBA. Coming into tonight’s game the Celtics are ranked 11th in the NBA in Defensive Rating. The Mavericks need to try to push the tempo and attack a vulnerable Celtics defense. Dallas is averaging 17.7 fast break points per game this season, which ranks first in the NBA. The Mavericks have outscored their opponent on the fast break in 14 of their first 21 games.

3. Ride with the Mayo factor. O.J. Mayo has averaged 25.1 points on 54.7 percent shooting (61.4 percent from 3) in Dallas’ 11 wins this season compared to 16.0 points on 40.7 percent shooting (40.0 percent from 3) in the Mavericks’ 10 losses. Dallas is 8-3 when he scores 20-plus points in a game this season, including 6-1 when he scores at least 25 points and 3-0 when he scores at least 30.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.