Keys to the Game

Keys to the Game: Celtics 111, Mavericks 98

Key Moment
Key Player
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night

Key Moment

Dallas deserves credit for hanging tough against the Celtics Monday night at the American Airlines Center. However, the Mavericks just didn’t have enough to get over the hump.

Boston led by as many as 11 points during the first three quarters of the game and never trailed during the second and third quarters. However, the Mavs made a run during the third and pulled within one point, at 83-82, heading into the fourth.

Their problem was that they couldn’t make a basket when it really mattered.

Dallas missed its first four shots of the fourth quarter, all of which would have given the team its first lead of the game since the final minute of the first quarter when it led 26-25. Devin Harris missed a 3-pointer and a layup, Dirk Nowitzki missed a jumper, and Yogi Ferrell missed a 3-pointer, respectively, during the opening two minutes of the period.

The Mavs never had another opportunity the rest of the night to take a lead, as the Celtics took control of the contest as the final quarter unfolded.

Beginning at the 8:50 mark of the fourth and running until the 4:32 mark, Boston went on a 12-2 run to open up a 100-89 lead. The C’s would go on to pull ahead by as many as 15 points during the final frame as they cruised to a 111-98 win.

The Celtics made shots when they needed to. Meanwhile, the Mavs did not, and that was the difference in this game.

Key Player

You know a player is having a great season when he can quietly lead a game in scoring by a wide margin and lead the game in assists. That’s exactly what Isaiah Thomas did Monday night in Dallas.

Thomas continued his stretch of incredible play by scoring a game-high 29 points against the Mavericks. His total was nine more than the next-highest individual scoring total in the game, which was 20 from Dallas’ Yogi Ferrell.

Entering Monday’s play, Thomas ranked second in the NBA in scoring efficiency among volume scorers, according to Synergy. He continued to score with efficiency against Dallas by shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from long range.

In addition to his 29 points, Thomas also dished out eight assists, which was by far the largest total in the game. No other player accumulated more than five assists during the contest.

This won’t surprise you, but the Celtics outscored the Mavericks by 12 points during IT’s 34-plus minutes of action.

This just feels like a normal night nowadays for Thomas, and that’s exactly why his performance didn’t exactly pop while watching this game unfold. Just the latest evidence of IT’s unbelievable season.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Six Celtics scored in double-figures, led by Isaiah Thomas' 29 points.
  • Kelly Olynyk came off the bench to score 15 points and tie for the team high in rebounds with seven.
  • Amir Johnson also grabbed seven rebounds.
  • Both teams committed 12 turnovers.
  • Boston scored 13 points off of Dallas' turnovers, but the Mavs scored only four points off of the C's turnovers.
  • Boston's largest lead was 15 points, while Dallas' was only three.
  • Dallas scored only 28 points in the paint.
  • Yogi Ferrell came off the bench to lead Dallas in scoring with 20 points.
  • Gerald Green scored 10 points in less than 14 minutes of action off of Boston's bench.
  • Five players in the game blocked one shot apiece to account for the contest's five blocks.
  • Thomas also led the game in assists with eight.
  • Amir Johnson totaled seven points, seven rebounds, five assists and a blocked shot.
  • Deron Williams was ejected from the game during the first half after picking up two technicals.
  • Boston shot 47.1 percent from long range (16-for-34).
  • Salah Mejri led the game in rebounds with 10.
  • Marcus Smart scored 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting.
  • Four Mavs scored between 18 and 20 points.

Quote of the Night

He's a legend. It's fun to match up against him sometimes, even though he doesn't even see me.

Isaiah Thomas on defending Dirk Nowitzki.

Key Player

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