Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Boston, MA – The Dallas Mavericks (7-4) will look to continue their winning ways as they take on the Boston Celtics (6-4) tonight. The Mavericks have won four straight games, which is their longest winning streak since they won six straight back in 2014. The Celtics are looking for their fourth straight victory, coming off of three impressive victories over the Atlanta Hawks, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets (Update: Kevin McHale was fired today by the Houston Rockets). This game will be yet another hard fought battle, so the Mavericks will need to be ready for the task at hand.
“Well, Boston is a very similar team in their persistence,” Carlisle said while comparing the Celtics to the Mavs’ last opponent. “You know, their quality of talent is obviously higher. And look, they’re on a hot streak. You know, they beat Atlanta, then they went and blew out Oklahoma City and Houston consecutive nights back-to-back on the road. I mean, that’s getting it done, and so they’re a hot team. They’re a confident team, and we’ve got to play our game better than they play their game. That’s pretty much it.”
What To Watch For:
Jae Crowder “Revenge Game”
The Boston Celtics can flat out perform on the defensive end of the floor. During the 2nd Half of their matchup with the Houston Rockets, they out-hustled and absolutely beat them down play after play en route to a blowout victory.
“We play hard,” Jae Crowder said after Monday’s win in Houston. “Guys don’t like that in this league. Guys want an easy, flowing game. But we play hard, and a lot of guys don’t like it.”
Jae Crowder will look to help his Celtics team and defeat his former Mavericks squad in the process. While Crowder can still struggle shooting the ball, he is tenacious and tough to handle on both ends of the floor. He also currently leads the NBA in steals at 3 per game.
Chandler Parsons Watch
It was reported early this morning that the minutes allowance for Chandler Parsons has been increased from 20 minutes to 23 minutes. While that certainly helps, it sure would be nice to see him stay on the floor a little longer. In just 21 minutes of action on Monday night in Philadelphia, he had his best performance to date this season. He had 20 points, going 8-11 from the floor, and even grabbed 5 rebounds int he process. The Mavericks tend to get into shooting funks during moments of games, so it would be nice to have another scoring option at a consistent basis. Stay tuned.
Keys To Victory:
Protect the Ball
The Mavericks are the 2nd best team in the NBA when it comes to turning the ball over. They average 13.1 turnovers per game, behind only the Charlotte Hornets. This will be key as the Celtics are the leagues best in forcing turnovers, at 11.8 per game. Against a young and athletic Philadelphia 76ers team on Monday, the Mavericks committed 19 turnovers, so if they think that the 76ers caused issues defensively, they need to come much more prepared tonight against this young and hard nosed Celtics squad.
“It’s very crucial. I mean, they lead the league in turnovers forced, and I believe they lead the league in steals,” Carlisle confessed. “(Jae) Crowder, I think, is the league leader in steals himself. (Avery) Bradley is a ballhawk, and (Marcus) Smart’s a great defender. You know, they have active bigs, and (Amir) Johnson is going to try to be very physical with Dirk. You know, we’ve got to combat those things.”
Shoot The Rock
Sooner or later, the Mavericks have to start shooting the ball better. They are far too talented on the offensive end. Having Parsons out there more should only help that percentage go up moving forward. Dallas has shown the ability to get out to large leads, only to let teams back into games during shooting slumps. The Mavericks will need to have Charlie Villanueva and J.J. Barea start producing a little more off of the bench.
How To Watch:
The game starts at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be televised locally on Fox Sports Southwest.
Quotes provided by Earl K. Sneed (Mavs.com)