Ford Keys to the Game: Mavericks 101, Celtics 97

Ford Keys to the Game

Mavericks 101, Celtics 97

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Ray Allen

Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett rise in unison in an attempt to block Dirk Nowitzki's shot attempt under the basket.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

The Boston Celtics did everything right down the stretch of tonight’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, but sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce the way you need it to. That was the overriding theme for the C’s in the final minutes of tonight’s 101-97 loss at the TD Garden.

The Celtics had numerous opportunities to pad their lead and put this game away down the stretch, but the shots simply weren’t falling.

Doc Rivers whistled for a timeout with 1:23 remaining and drew up a play with the hopes of changing Boston’s three-point cushion into a two-possession lead. Boston wound up with a great look on a wide-open 17-foot jumper, but the shot came from Rajon Rondo and did not fall through the hoop.

On Boston’s next possession, Ray Allen, who shot 9-for-18 in the game, pulled the trigger on a quick 3-pointer -- despite the C's already leading by one -- with 51 seconds remaining and his shot did not fall either.

Finally, after Kevin Garnett stepped in and stole a pass by Jason Kidd with 37 seconds remaining, the C’s had another opportunity to add to their 97-96 lead. At the other end of the floor, Garnett was rewarded for his fantastic defensive play with an open look at a 20-footer, but his shot missed as well and the Mavericks grabbed the board with 16 seconds remaining.

As Paul Pierce said after the game, those were shots that would normally fall for the Celtics, and he wouldn’t change anything about Boston’s offensive execution.

“I thought we got shots that we wanted actually,” said Pierce, “we just missed them.”

At the other end of the floor, Boston was also executing well defensively. On the biggest play of the game, Dallas attempted to get Jason Terry a look at the basket after he came off of three separate screens. He was able to accept a pass, but the shot wasn’t there. He then looked to dump the ball off to Dirk Nowitzki, but numerous hands broke that attempt up as well. The loose ball was corralled by Nowitzki and he kicked it out to Jason Kidd, who was unguarded at the top of the key, and he pump faked Ray Allen past him before drilling the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds remaining.

It was just one of those nights for the C’s. They executed well down the stretch, but couldn’t get the ball to bounce their way, and with that they wound up suffering a season sweep at the hands of the Mavericks.

Key Box Score Line

What Kendrick Perkins is doing in his return from offseason knee surgery is utterly amazing. His performances of late had been good, but tonight he was great.

Perkins played a season-high 32:31 tonight and notched his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 boards. Four of those rebounds came at the offensive end, and many of them resulted in quick putback buckets that cleaned up Boston’s offensive possessions.

It’s clearly visible that his timing is beginning to return. Perkins finished numerous baskets in traffic and looked good doing so. He timed his jumps perfectly to grab almost all of those 12 rebounds. Yes, the lift may not be there just yet, but it will come soon enough. Until then, we think the C’s would be more than happy to accept double-double performances like this from him as February continues.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Both teams committed 15 turnovers, but Dallas' mishaps led to eight more points (23) than Boston's (12).
  • Each team had four starters finish in double-figures.
  • Ray Allen led the C's with 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting.
  • Neither team had a big rebounding night, as the C's grabbed 34 boards to the Mavericks' 33.
  • Dallas scored 24 points in the first quarter but did not score more than 24 in any of the following three periods.
  • Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting. He made all 10 of his free throw attempts.
  • Kendrick Perkins notched his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Perkins played a season-high 32:31.
  • Each team shot around 50 percent in the game. Boston made 50.6 percent of its shots compared to a 49.4 percent clip by Dallas.
  • The two starting point guards had very similar nights: Rajon Rondo tallied eight points and 12 assists, while Jason Kidd notched 10 points and nine assists.
  • Both teams attempted 17 3-pointers, with Dallas making eight and Boston making six.
  • All of Boston's starters played between 32 and 40 minutes.
  • Five Mavericks attempted at least 10 shots while only three Celtics attempted at least 10 field goals.
  • Tyson Chandler had a big night with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
  • Marquis Daniels came off the bench to score 10 points for the C's.
  • Jason Terry (17 points) and Shawn Marion (13 points) combined for 30 points off the bench for Dallas.

Quote of the Night

Doc Rivers on Boston's attempted game-tying play with 2.5 seconds remaining in the game: "Well we had had two options, actually; you know we had a timeout too. And I told (Rajon) Rondo that the alley-oop part of it – if it was wide open, you throw it. But if we told him, if [Kevin Garnett is] close to wide open, Ray (Allen) would probably be the guy open. And he probably was open, actually. I think – I haven’t seen it yet – but by my vision, it looked like Jason Terry sucked in with Kevin, which means nobody was guarding Ray. But honestly [Garnett] was open; the pass was just off the mark."