Watch It! - Celtics at Mavericks
Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks meet at 8:30 p.m. tonight at the AmericanAirlines Center.
Monday’s contest will feature two of the top six offenses in the league when it comes to putting points on the board. Dallas currently leads the NBA with a scoring average of 109.7 points per game, while Boston ranks sixth with a scoring average of 105.5 PPG.
Each team uses balance to put its points on the board. Monta Ellis’ scoring average of 19.0 PPG leads six Mavericks who are putting up at least 10.7 points a night. Dallas has shot the ball at an incredible rate through three games, making 52.0 percent of its field goals.
Boston’s overall offensive numbers are skewed by its 121-point performance on Opening Night, but it features similar balance. The C’s are shooting 46.2 percent this season and have eight players averaging at least 8.0 PPG.
Needless to say, there will be some offensive fireworks tonight If these trends continue.
Dallas’ New Weapon
One of the most interesting moves of the offseason happened in the state of Texas. Chandler Parsons, considered by many to be an up-and-coming star, moved north from Houston to Dallas.
Parsons heads into tonight’s game averaging 15.3 PPG and 5.0 RPG. While his numbers may not pop off of the stat sheet, he certainly has the attention of Brad Stevens.
“You add Chandler Parsons, and Chandler is a great playmaker,” Stevens said on Sunday. “I think that’s probably the undervalued part of his game. And they’ve got him playing at the 4 some as well. He’s a guy that can stretch the floor and floor it when Dirk is out of the game.”
The most likely candidates to face off against Parsons are Jeff Green, Evan Turner and Brandon Bass. Those three players will have their hands full with an all-around talent who can make plays at both ends.
Let it Rip
Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga addressed the team as they ended Sunday’s practice. In short, he told them not to pass up open shots and to let it rip. Stevens elaborated on the message when he spoke to the media minutes later.
“You have to be aggressive. You have to be assertive,” Stevens said. “It’s not a malicious selfishness by any means, but it’s a requirement for everybody. We’re expecting everybody to soar with their strengths and we’re expecting everybody to take what’s there.”
This message was delivered after the Celtics showed some reluctance to pull the trigger Saturday night in Houston, when they shot just 37.8 percent from the field and missed 24 of their 25 3-point attempts. Boston’s coaching staff doesn’t want to see that reluctance again tonight.
A Chance To Go Boarding
Rajon Rondo is Boston’s leading rebounder this season. Though he’s hauling in an average of 8.5 rebounds a night, he shouldn’t be atop the team’s rebounding column.
Jared Sullinger’s greatest talent is rebounding. He was one of the best in the league at pulling in missed shots a season ago. This season, however, he’s averaging only 6.5 rebounds per game. Kelly Olynyk (5.5 RPG), Green (5.0 RPG) and Bass (3.5 RPG) aren’t exactly piling up huge rebounding numbers either.
Tonight is a great opportunity for Boston’s frontline to get into the rebounding action. Dallas is a middle-of-the-pack team when it comes to rebounding percentage (49.2 percent), and it’s a bottom-third team in the league when it comes to overall rebounds per game (40.3).
Saturday night’s game in Houston was Marcus Smart’s first NBA contest in his home state of Texas. That was a big deal, but it pales in comparison to tonight’s contest, which will be played in his hometown.
Smart told reporters on Monday that he requested some 30 tickets for his family and friends for this game. He also divulged that he planned to spend his Monday night with his mother in the house he recently purchased for her.
Make no mistake about it: this is a big night for the rookie. It’s a lot of pressure to fulfill your dreams right in front of the eyes of your family and friends. There’s no doubt that he’ll have some jitters, but he claimed that he’ll be able to shake them and perform on the court. We’ll see if he can follow through on those comments.