Recap: Turnovers ruin double-OT thriller for Mavs in Boston
Earl K. Sneed reports from Boston, where the Dallas Mavericks' 28 turnovers proved to be costly in a double-overtime loss to ex-Mav Jason Terry and the Celtics.
Recap: Mavericks 115 at Celtics 117 F/2OT
Turnovers ruin double-OT thriller for Mavs in Boston
It just felt different.
After eight seasons, two NBA Finals appearances, the 2009 Sixth Man award and the 2011 title all in a Dallas Mavericks uniform, it definitely didn’t feel the same to see guard Jason Terry wearing the white and green for the Boston Celtics Wednesday night.
Making his first appearance against his former team after signing with the Celtics as a free agent this offseason, Terry even had to admit that the memories of what he accomplished during his tenure in Dallas still cross his mind. Still, with a trip to Dallas yet to come on March 22, the veteran sharpshooter approached Wednesday’s nationally-televised showdown with a workman-like approach.
“I think they’re playing well,” Terry said as he prepared to face a Dirk Nowitzki-less Dallas team that entered the night on a three-game winning streak. “I mean, they’re playing as well as they can without obviously one of the greatest players to ever play the game in Dirk. O.J. Mayo is playing phenomenal. I know they’re happy about that acquisition. [Chris] Kaman is playing pretty well for them. So, they look good.”
He added: “It’s going to be more special when we go to Dallas, ’cause then you’ve got the fans involved. And I know they’ll be watching tonight, but it’s a lot different when you’re on the court and you’re in that arena again. So, tonight is going to be good, I’ll see everybody and say what’s up, but again in March, when we go back on the 22nd, it’s going to be special.”
Terry then stepped onto the hardwood at the T.D. Garden looking to end the Mavs’ winning streak and hoping to snap a streak of four straight losses for Boston against the visiting Dallas squad. But with Terry just 3-of-10 on the night for 10 points, he would play a secondary role as the Celtics (12-9) ended the Mavs’ winning streak by edging the visiting team, 117-115, to begin Dallas’ road trip on a sour note in a double-overtime thriller.
Returning from a two-game absence with a strained right groin just in time to face his former teammate, four-time All-Star Shawn Marion slid right into the starting lineup next to small forward Dahntay Jones and Kaman on the frontline, Mayo and veteran point guard Derek Fisher. It would be a league-leading 11th different first unit for the Mavericks (11-11) this season.
Still, even with Marion back in action, the Mavericks would struggle protecting the ball in opening period. And with six turnovers leading to eight Boston points and later becoming a theme, the Mavs looked up to a 27-25 deficit to close the first 12 minutes of action.
The Dallas offense would continue to sputter early in the second quarter as the Celtics opened up a 10-point lead with the first eight points of the period while the Mavs missed their first six shot attempts. But after eight-time All-Star Vince Carter banked in a 3 before Fisher’s driving score, the Mavs would eventually settle down in the stanza as reserve guard Darren Collison began to assert himself.
And after a late score by Mayo on a long jumper, the Mavs went into the locker room at the intermission down five, 48-43.
Despite outshooting the Celtics in the half, 48.7 percent to 41.5 percent, the Mavs found themselves down in the first half thanks to 11 turnovers. Meanwhile, Terry struggled in the first 24 minutes, going 0-of-4 on the offensive end as 16 points from Paul Pierce led all scorers.
Connecting on a 3-pointer early in the third period after taking just four shots in the first half, Mayo served notice to the Celtics that he would become more aggressive as the game carried on. But the long-range bomb was immediately answered by Terry from 3 at the other end as the Celtics again surged ahead by double digits.
As the Mavs’ turnovers continued to pile up, the Celtics built up an advantage as large as 14. But that’s when Collison willed his team back into the game with a relentless assault towards the rim as the Mavs switched to a “small-ball” lineup, scoring nine points in the third before Rajon Rondo’s buzzer-beater lifted the Celtics to a 76-70 edge entering the final quarter.
“It gave us an opportunity, especially at the offensive end,” Collison said of the lineup that featured Carter at power forward and Marion at center. “We were able to get easier looks. You know, we felt like first half we didn’t get the looks we wanted because they played exceptionally well on defense. We went to the small lineup and we got some open looks in transition.”
“Small ball is going to have segments of effectiveness," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added. "There’s no doubt about that. It’s been proven, but whether you can ultimately win with it all the time, no one has really ever done it. So, it helped us tonight. It helped us get back in the game, it helped us extend the game but it’s not a long-term solution.”
Following up a jumper with a bounce off the rim and in on a 3, Mayo took the scoring duties over from Collison as the fourth period got underway. Carter then lent a helping hand with a couple of vintage layups, before Dahntay Jones brought the Mavs to within one, 86-85, midway through the quarter.
With the Boston defense loading up on Mayo, however, again the supporting cast stepped up down the stretch as Collison continued his second-half assault by tying the game at 92-all with 2:20 left on the clock. Then it was Fisher’s turn, answering a jumper by Rondo with a 3 to give the Mavs their first lead of the night. Mayo then did the honors with his team down two, tying the game with a 1-of-2 trip to the foul line with 52.1 ticks left.
After a defensive stop, the Mavs then inbounded the ball with 24.3 seconds left. But a driving Mayo had the ball knocked away by Rondo and into Pierce’s hands, giving the Celtics 6.9 ticks remaining to win it themselves. Still, thanks to stiffening defense from Fisher on Rondo, the Celtics would fail to get a shot up to the rim as regulation ended with the teams even at 96-all.
A three-point play by Terry the old-fashion way got the Celtics on the board first to open the extra period. Pierce then found a hole in the middle of the Dallas defense for a score to put the Celtics up two, 101-99, with 2:05 still on the clock. However, with Mayo finding Marion for a slicing slam, the game was once again tied when Fisher fouled out with a whistle on Terry with 1:07 remaining. Pierce and Marion then exchanged scores before Kevin Garnett’s jumper with 26.9 ticks left put the Celtics up by two and forced a Dallas timeout.
With the small lineup still on the floor, Mayo first drew a fifth foul on Rondo. He then attacked the paint, scoring with ease to tie the game with 11.1 seconds for the Celtics to work with. Dahntay Jones would do the rest, suffocating Pierce on the defensive end and forcing an airball as time ticked away into a second overtime period.
After the rejection by Jones carried the Mavs into the second overtime, Pierce opened the scoring with a 3 before an attacking Mayo came right back with a driving score. But the Mavs would continue to remain one-point behind as their inability to take care of the ball once again reared its ugly head, before Rondo drove around Mayo for a score with 35.5 seconds left, followed by Collison’s miss and subsequent foul on Pierce as the future Hall of Famer connected on two free throws with 19.3 ticks remaining to go up four.
Still, the Mavs continued to battle, however, climbing to within one on Carter’s 3 with 9.3 seconds still standing between the final verdict. And after twice Pierce connected on a pair of free throws to make it a three-point game with 5.3 seconds still left for the Mavs to tie, an inbound pass from Collison would sail through the hands of Rodrigue Beaubois to seal the Mavs’ fate before a late 3-pointer by Mayo answered Courtney Lee’s free throws as the game clock expired.
“Man, we were right there and turnovers at crucial points and through the course of the game killed us,” Marion confessed after the loss.
Leading seven scorers in double figures was Mayo, who finished with 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting and 3-of-7 from 3 in slightly less than 52 minutes of action. But the 25-year-old budding star also finished with nine turnovers on the night.
“Nine turnovers, that just doesn’t cut it,” Mayo admitted. “You want the ball, and when you get the ball you want to make a good, positive play for our team. Turnovers killed us. … You’ve got to take care of the ball and worst case get a shot up. But when you turn it over, it just kind of deflates our team in a tight game like that.”
Off the bench, Collison added 20 points, five rebounds and six assists, while Marion collected a double-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in better than 44 minutes of action in his return.
Meanwhile, Jones and Kaman pitched in 12 points and Fisher and Carter both finished with 10 points.
Leading all scorers with 34 points on 11-for-25 shooting and 3-of-8 from 3 was Pierce, who led six Celtics in double figures and benefited off Rondo’s 15 assists. But the Mavs finished the night outshooting the Celtics, 51.1 percent to 43 percent, in addition to a 50-42 rebounding edge, slowed only by 28 turnovers for 34 Boston points.
“Well, I tell you what: looking at the stat sheet, what I am is encouraged,” Carlisle said, “because we had 28 turnovers, we give up 34 points off turnovers, and to be in the game with this team is encouraging to me. It means we have a lot of positive upside to us and we’ve got to find it. We’ve got to find it with efficiency and we’ve got to do a better job covering the ball one on one. And we can do it. I believe in these guys. I really do. We showed a lot of guts hanging in this thing and we’ve just got to be able to make simple plays.”
“It was a hard-fought game, double overtime. We had 28 turnovers, so that says a lot right there. I’ll take the most fault for it. I had nine and I want the ball in my hands. … We had so many opportunities to control that game and win and just came up short. We’ll probably look at some stuff tomorrow, I’m pretty sure. We’ve got a pretty nice lengthy flight. Look at some stuff tonight on the fight and see some areas where we can get better at,” Mayo concluded.
Note The Mavericks will now continue their road trip, traveling north of the border for Friday night’s contest in Toronto against the Raptors. The Mavs collected a 109-104 home win over the Raptors on Nov. 7. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 6 p.m. CT.