Once considered on a 1-2 basis with Chris Paul as the NBA's best lead guard, Deron Williams’ stock has dipped considerably since those lean years as a younger point guard.
Despite his recent struggles in Brooklyn, Williams was brought to Dallas, along with veterans Wes Matthews and Zaza Pachulia, to supplement the loss of free-agent-gone-bad DeAndre Jordan.
On top of Dirk Nowitzki’s game-high 23 points, Williams delivered clutch baskets in the final frame, as Dallas came back to beat Boston 106-102 at the TD Garden.
Boston wasn’t able to keep up with their hot first quarter, which saw them hang 31 points, and hold the Mavericks to 27% shooting.
"It's so hard to rest on the laurels of a lead in this league; they go too quick," Brad Stevens said after the loss. "There was a lot of game left to be played, we just didn't play well enough."
Fans everywhere were affected by the ref’s penchant for calling fouls in this game, with a total of 50 fouls called. Despite the slowed pace, the Celtics were able to maintain an eight point edge heading into the fourth quarter.
The veteran-laden Mavs, coming off of a Monday win at Philadelphia, seemed to have the better head as the game went down the stretch, as the Celtics seemed to settle too much from long distance. Boston shot just 8-26 from distance.
"They [the Celtics] made things tough on us," Williams said. "We were able to hit some baskets in the third and fourth quarters and get some confidence. I think we just turned up our energy levels on both ends of the floor in the second half."
The Celtics certainly made it interesting with a Jae Crowder three, followed by a loose ball that ended up with two Crowder free throws, making it a two point deficit with 21 seconds remaining.
From there, things went haywire.
Following an Isaiah Thomas layup, Raymond Felton missed two ensuing free throws. With the ball and a chance to tie, Thomas was tracked down by the same Felton who missed those same free throws.
Unable to call a timeout, the Celtics had to let Thomas take it the length of the court on what would prove to be the game's deciding play.
Boston will be back in action Friday as they host the Brooklyn Nets.