Keys to the Game

Keys to the Game: Celtics 97, Mavericks 90

Key Moment
Key Player
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night

Key Moment

Jaylen Brown recently called Kyrie Irving “Mr. Fourth Quarter.”

Brown wasn’t in the building Wednesday night, but he was able to watch Mr. Fourth Quarter from home as he did work during the final period of a 97-90 Celtics win over Dallas.

Irving scored the five most critical points of the game during crunch time. With Boston leading 87-85 with less than four minutes to go, the All-Star point guard rattled off five straight in a span of only 30 seconds to push the C’s ahead by seven.

The first bucket came via a coast-to-coast layup with 3:45 left on the clock. Irving took an outlet pass from Al Horford and streaked the length of the court before kissing a layup off the glass over the outstretched arm of 6-foot-11 big man Maxi Kleber.

The next basket came after a dizzying spin move Irving put on veteran 3-and-D wing Wesley Matthews.

Irving dribbled with his back to the basket while being defended by Matthews on the right wing. He took one dribble with his left hand as he moved away from the basket and toward the 3-point line before quickly seizing control of the moment.

Irving realized that Matthews was expecting him to use a screen from nearby big man Al Horford, who was closer to the edge of the free-throw line, so he spun on a dime back toward the baseline and found no one between himself and the basket. He used a brief hesitation to draw contact from Matthews and then dropped a layup in off the glass for a critical and-one bucket before pounding his chest in front of the crowd. Irving made the ensuing free throw, providing Boston with a 92-85 lead.

Boston owned control of the game from that moment on, as its lead never dropped to fewer than six points. The point guard also dropped in one more floating jumper off the glass to take his fourth-quarter scoring total to nine points and his overall total to 23 points on the night.

That Mr. Fourth Quarter nickname seemed quite fitting Wednesday night. Even the Mavs would have to admit that.

Key Player

Let’s give Daniel Theis some love! He may never be more worthy of the Key Player slot than he was following Wednesday night’s win over Dallas.

Theis hauled in a career-high and game-high 11 rebounds during Boston’s victory over the Mavs. Three of those boards came at the offensive end of the court, and we are rather certain that the Celtics scored second-chance points after each one of those three offensive rebounds.

Theis also scored seven points of his own and also dished out two assists, meaning he played a major role in at least 17 of Boston’s 97 points on the night.

Dallas also learned that Theis is more than capable of preventing opposing teams from scoring points, as the big man tallied three steals and a blocked shot during his 17-plus minutes of action. Theis tied three other players for the game’s high mark in steals.

His final box score of 11 rebounds, seven points, two assists, two steals and a block is certainly enough to earn such an honor as being our Key Player of the game.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Boston limited Dallas to only 33 total points during the second half.
  • Al Horford led the game with eight assists. He also scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
  • Four Celtics grabbed at least eight boards, led by a game-high 11 from Daniel Theis.
  • Neither team shot better than 41.4 percent from the field.
  • Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 23 points.
  • Harrison Barnes led the Mavs with 19 points.
  • Maxi Kleber blocked a game-high five shots. His teammates did not block a single shot.
  • The Celtics converted on seven of their eight fast-break shots, totaling 17 points.
  • Both teams led by double-digits in the game.
  • Terry Rozier led all reserves with 12 points, while Shane Larkin added in 11 of his own.
  • Neither team committed more than 12 turnovers.
  • Irving shot 9-for-12 from inside the 3-point arc (1-for-6 from outside of it).
  • Two of Boston's starters, Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes, scored only two points apiece.
  • Jayson Tatum logged a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Quote of the Night

I can feel 15 (pairs of) eyes on me at all times wanting to go back into the game. I guess 10 (pairs of eyes) because five are playing. There's an unspoken code that I feel from the entire bench that all wants to play.

Brad Stevens jokes about how he determines how to bring players back into the game during the fourth quarter.

Key Player