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Dirk Nowitzki
Caption: 
All eyes were on Dirk Nowitzki in the second half as he scored 25 of his 31 points after the break to beat the Celtics in Dallas.
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NBAE/Getty

Mavs' 3s Kill C's in OT

VP, Digital Media

DALLAS – The Dallas Mavericks lived by the 3, died by the 3, and then won by the 3 in OT.

The Celtics, who watched the Mavericks can 16 shots from behind the arc, eventually died by the Mavericks’ 3s. They dug themselves a deep hole in the first seven minutes Monday night. And they spent the rest of the night battling take the lead, only to lose it late, and then claw back to force overtime. The Celtics eventually fell to the Mavericks, 118-113.

It couldn’t have started much uglier for the Celtics. They hit just one of their first 15 field goal attempts to start the game, and fell behind 17-2 before they even knew what happened. And the second they saw any daylight, thanks to a Marcus Smart steal and breakway dunk, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle called timeout.

Smart, who always seems to play his best when he’s in home state of Texas or Oklahoma where he went to school, settled the C’s down with 11 points in the last six minutes of the first quarter. Had Smart not stabilized the situation off the bench, this game may have been over in the first half.

“We just chipped away,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “I thought the guys really competed after the the first eight minutes at a high level. We just got off to a bad start.”

The Mavericks drained seven of their first 10 3-pointers and enjoyed a comfortable 52-39 lead at the half.

“It’s real tough when you’re down 15 to start,” Kelly Olynyk said after his 17-point game that featured five 3-pointers of his own. “We made a run and made it close, but made a few mistakes at the end.”

That run was basically the third quarter, where the Celtics actually outscored the Mavericks 33-18. Isaiah Thomas started attacking the basket, and the Mavericks went just 6-for-21 -- and 2-for-9 from downtown -- in the stanza, as the Celtics took a 72-70 lead into the fourth.

The 3s that propped the Mavericks up early were dragging them down as the Celtics made their move. But the Mavericks hit seven of their last 10 3-point field goals including all four in overtime. And Dirk Nowitzki, who scored just six points in the first half and appeared to be showing the effects of playing the second game of a back-to-back, came to life after halftime and dropped 25 of his 31 points.

Jae Crowder, who finished with 12 points, struggled from the field (3-for-13), but ended up at the line in the final seconds of regulation when Raymond Felton fouled him on a 3-point attempt. With the Celtics trailing 98-95, Crowder stepped up and knocked down all three free throws to tie the game.

The Mavericks responded by starting overtime with a 5-0 run, and then the Celtics were back to chasing them down by shooting 3s and trying to stop the clock with fouls.

“They hit some 3s early, and they hit some 3s late, and that was unfortunate for us,” Crowder said.

For Boston, it was a game that they played well enough to have a chance to win, and reflected the relentless effort that’s become their trademark. They’ll sleep it off in Dallas tonight, and head north for Canada to close out the trip and look to start another winning streak.

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