Setting the Table: Boston Celtics (Game 69)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 22, 2013 under Previews | Read the First Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks need a win in the worst way as they host the Boston Celtics. They can’t afford to start their do-or-die homestand with two consecutive losses. After missing the last eight games with a left calf strain, it appears Shawn Marion will be active for the Mavericks.

The big news is the return of Jason Terry to the American Airlines Center. This will be the first visit for Terry as an opponent after spending eight seasons with the Mavericks from 2004-11. Terry averaged 16.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 32.7 minutes in 619 games (285 starts) with Dallas. “It feels good,” Terry said on walking back into the American Airlines Center. “It feels like home, as it should.”

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), 7th in 3-point field goal percentage (.388), 6th in free throw percentage (.847), 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. Does the nostalgia bring back enough feelings for him to shed tears tonight? “No, I shed tears when I had to leave,” he said. “So I don’t think I have any more left.”

He said it is tough to see his former team struggle because he’s still a “Mav fan at heart,” but he’s still disappointed on how things ended in Dallas. “You like to have a fight for what you earned and we didn’t get that opportunity,” Terry said. “But I mean it’s over now, we’re past that disappointment. And we had to move on.”

It’s evident that Terry will still be well-received when he comes into the game. “Well, he’ll get a great reception,” coach Rick Carlisle said on Terry’s return. “He’s one of the most beloved players I think in the history of this franchise because of his personality, his relationship with the fans and the community and he was a great player.”

Owner Mark Cuban took it one step further. “I hope (the fans) give him a standing ovation,” Cuban said. “He’s a Maverick for life, a part of the family.”

It will be an emotional night. Hopefully, it’s a good, entertaining game.

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

Series Notes:

The Celtics snapped a four-game losing streak against the Mavericks with a 117-115 double-overtime win at Boston on Dec. 12. Seven players scored in double figures for Dallas in the loss: O.J. Mayo (24), Darren Collison (20), Shawn Marion (16), Chris Kaman (12), Dahntay Jones (12), Vince Carter (10) and Derek Fisher (10).

Four of the last five meetings between the two teams have been decided by five points or less. The Mavericks have won 13 of
the last 17 meetings in Dallas, including the most recent two at American Airlines Center.

Dallas held Boston to a series-low 73 points on Feb. 20, 2012 (defeated Boston 89-73).

Dirk Nowitzki passed former Celtic Robert Parish (23,334) for 20th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list vs. Boston on Feb. 20, 2012. Nowitzki also recorded his 1,000th career block on Feb. 20, 2012, becoming the third player in NBA history with at least 1,000 3-pointers and 1,000 blocks (Rasheed Wallace, Clifford Robinson).

Dirk definitely likes going up against the C’s. Nowitzki has averaged 26.9 points per game in 26 games (26 starts) against the Celtics in his career, which is his highest scoring average against any team (he’s averaged 26.2 points per game against Charlotte, which is his second-highest scoring average against any team). Nowitzki averaged 21.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.5 blocks and 34.0 minutes in two starts against Boston in 2011-12. He missed the game at Boston on Dec. 12 recovering from right knee surgery.

The game between Dallas and Boston features a who’s who of all-time scoring leaders who are still playing today. The Mavericks and the Celtics feature seven of the top 20 active NBA scoring leaders: Kevin Garnett (2nd, 25,221), Dirk Nowitzki (3rd, 24,773), Paul Pierce (4th, 23,822), Vince Carter (7th, 22,014), Jason Terry (14th, 17,170), Shawn Marion (16th, 16,439) and Elton Brand (19th, 16,213).

It’s a Small World:

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.

Celtics forward Brandon Bass played for the Mavericks from 2007-09. Bass was a teammate of Mavericks swingman Vince Carter on the Magic for one-and-a-half seasons from 2009-10. Mavericks forward Elton Brand played three-and-a-half seasons with Celtics big man Chris Wilcox on the L.A. Clippers from 2002-06.

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. Defend. Rick Carlisle cited after the game against the Nets that the team struggles to keep teams under 100 points. Dallas has given up 111.0 points per game over their last three games. The Mavericks are 13-28 this season when they allow their opponent to score at least 100.

2. Be aware of Jeff Green. Jeff Green has stepped up since Rajon Rondo went down for the season with an ACL tear in his right knee. Since Jan. 27 Green has been averaging 15.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.75 steals and 1.42 blocks in 31.2 minutes per game. During his days with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Green was always one of the tougher challenges for Dirk Nowitzki as an opposing defender. Green’s length and athleticism would give Dirk a challenge as he could defend out along the perimeter.

3. Take advantage of Boston’s schedule. The Celtics come into town on the first night of a back-to-back. They will head to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies after facing the Mavericks. Boston is 1-4 this season on the first night of a road-road back-to-back. Also, Boston is also 2-10 on the road against Western Conference squadrons this year. If Dallas loses this game, put your sad pants on. The party will be over.

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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/davidghopkins David Hopkins

    My sad pants have been washed and folded. I’ll go look for them.