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Jae Crowder and Celtics visit the Mavs looking for 4th straight win

Jae Crowder returns to Dallas for the first time since the trade that brought him to the Celtics.

Elsa/Getty Images

Boston Celtics (22-19) at Dallas Mavericks (23-19)
Monday, January 18, 2016
8:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #42 – Road Game #21
TV: CSN-NE, FSSW, NBA-LP 759(DTV)/ 753(xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub, 103.3 FM ESPN
American Airlines Center

Referees:  Rodney Mott, Kevin Cutler,  Eric Dalen

The Celtics continue their road trip with a stop in Dallas to face the Mavericks.  This is the second and final meeting between these two teams this season.  The Celtics lost 106-102 to the Mavs in Boston in the beginning of November.  Dallas won the series last season 2-0.

This will be Jae Crowder's first trip back to Dallas since the trade that brought him to Boston from the team that drafted him with the 34th pick in the 2012 draft.  Since coming to Boston, he has blossomed and is definitely the best player from that trade.  Dwight Powell has played well with 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds off the bench for the Mavericks and was the high scorer with 15 against the Spurs on Sunday. The Celtics also own the Mavs first round pick this season, top 7 protected.  It will also be a homecoming of sorts for Marcus Smart who grew up not far from Dallas in Flower Mound, Texas.

The Mavericks are playing in the second of back to back games, having played in San Antonio on Sunday night.  They are 6-4 over all in the second of back to back games this season and 1-1 when it is a road/home back to back set.   No Mavericks player played more than 28 minutes in San Antonio and so Rick Carlisle will more than likely not need to rest his players in the second of back to back games as he has done in the past. 

The Celtics remain in the 8th spot in the East, 1 game ahead of Orlando and 1/2 game behind Detroit for the 7th spot.  Dallas is 6th in the West and tied with Memphis record-wise but Memphis owns the tie breaker.  They are 1.5 games in front of Houston, who is in 7th place. 

The Celtics have won 3 straight and are looking for their second 4 game win streak of the season.  The Mavs are looking to start a win streak after losing their last game.  The Celtics are 11-9 on the road while the Mavs are 11-7 at home.  Both teams are 4-6 in their last 10 games. The Mavs have won their last 6 vs the Celtics and 10 of their last 11.    Neither team has any players out with injuries. 

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard

Isaiah Thomas vs Deron Williams

Shooting Guard
Avery Bradley vs Wesley Matthews

Small Forward

Jae Crowder vs Chandler Parsons

Power Forward

Amir Johnson vs Dirk Nowitzki


Jared Sullinger vs Zaza Pachulia

Celtics Reserves
Marcus Smart
Evan Turner
RJ Hunter
Jonas Jerebko
David Lee
Jordan Mickey
Terry Rozier
James Young
Tyler Zeller
Kelly Olynyk

Head Coach
Brad Stevens


Mavs Reserves
Justin Anderson
JJ Barea
Jeremy Evans
Raymond Felton
Devin Harris
John Jenkins
Dwight Powell
JaVale McGee
Charlie Villanueva

Head Coach
Rick Carlisle



Key Matchups
Amir Johnson vs Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk may be getting older, but he is still a dangerous player.  He is averaging 17.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists.   Dirk can score both inside and out and so will be a tough matchup.  Amir will need to make him work on both ends of the court and stay with him on defense.  Dirk is coming off a game were he scored just 4 points on 2-10 shooting and I have a feeling he will be looking to go off in this game to make up for it. 

Isaiah Thomas/Avery Bradley vs Deron Williams/Wesley Matthews
Williams isn't known for his tough defense and so he should allow Isaiah to get some easy baskets.   Williams is 6'3" and is averaging 14.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 5.7 assists.  Matthews  is 6'5" and is averaging 12.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists.  Either one will be a tough cover for Isaiah.  If either one goes off, expect to see Marcus Smart make an early entrance for defensive purposes. 

Keys to the Game
Defense - The Celtics have been winning by playing tough lock down team defense.  They need to continue to play that kind of defense in this game.  Defense wins games.   The Celtics are 19-2 when holding opponents under 100 and they are 3 and 17 when they allow over 100 points.  Playing tough defense is important if the Celtics want to get a win. 

- Much of rebounding is effort and the Celtics have been putting out good effort to win the battle of the boards.  When they work hard on the boards, it usually follows through to the rest of the game as well.  The Celtics are averaging 45.0 rebounds per game while the Mavs are averaging 43.7 rebounds per game.  The Celtics will need to work very hard to get the rebounds in this game. 

Be Aggressive
-  The Celtics need to be the more aggressive team in going to the basket, diving for loose balls, going after 50/50 balls, grabbing rebounds, and just playing harder in general.  They have been the team that wanted it more over their last 3 wins and they need to continue to play like that in this game. 

Run and Move the Ball - The Celtics are most effective when they run on every possession and move the ball to find the open man.  When they stop running and the ball stops moving,  they get into a slump and their scoring and defense both suffer.  They have to run up the court on offense and run back on defense to set up before the Mavs get back.  The Celtics are young and deep and need to use that to their advantage especially with the Mavericks playing in back to back games.

Play 48 minutes
- The Celtics need to come out strong to start the game and then they need to play hard for all 48 minutes.  They can't come out strong and then let up and they can't expect to win if they let the Mavs get out to a lead and then have to struggle to catch up.  They need to play hard from start to finish.  In the first game between them, the Celtics let the Mavericks come back from an 18 point deficit to win it.  They can't let that happen. 


Win it for Jae - Every player likes to get a win over the team that traded them.  Although Jae has been very complimentary of his time with the Mavs, he will still want to get the win over his former team and his teammates should play hard to help him get one.

- Officiating is always an x-factor.  How the refs call the game has a big influence on how the teams play.  Will they let them play or call every little bit of contact?  Will they call it evenly or will they favor one team or the other.  Will they be influenced by the home crowd?  We saw first hand in the last game how the refs can influence a game at the end. 

Official Report
Rodney Mott

Rodney Mott has officiated 978 regular season games and 14 playoff games during his 17-season NBA career Prior to joining the NBA officiating staff, Mott spent four years officiating in the CBA, eight years officiating in the Los Angeles Pro Am basketball league, three years officiating at the junior college level, and four years officiating high school in San Diego. In 2007, Mott was suspended without pay for 3 games for making an obscene gesture and inappropriate comment toward a fan. Mott challenged the charges and said that they used him as a scapegoat to take attention away from other issues, but the suspension stood.

The Celtics have had mixed results with Mott as an official. Like many refs, he can be good or bad depending on the night. It was Rodney Mott that Rondo was joking with and accidentally bumped in a game vs the Hawks. Even though Mott didn't show any reaction at the time and backed up Rondo's story that he was indeed joking with him at the time, Rondo was suspended for the incident. Mott hasn't been particularly good or bad in recent games with the Celtics other than the recent loss to the Knicks where they called several ticky tack fouls on the Celtics letting free throws decide the game down the stretch. The Celtics are 2-1 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 games with Mott. The Mavericks are 1-0 this season and 7-3 in their last 10 with Mott. He is a homer ref with a home W/L record this season of 24-8.

Kevin Cutler

Kevin Cutler is entering his sixth NBA season after having officiated 276 games in his first five seasons. Cutler owns six years of collegiate officiating experience, including the 2009 NIT and the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Additionally, Cutler worked two NBA D-League Finals as well as the 2008 NBA D-League All-Star Game. Cutler called a game against the Pacers last season and there were a series of terrible calls down the stretch of that game, including an out of bounds call that was obviously wrong and which gave the game to the Pacers. The Celtics are 0-1 this season and 3-7 over their last 10 with Cutler. The Mavericks are 0-1 this season and 4-6 over their last 10 games with Cutler. His home W/L record this season is 16-9.

Eric Dalen
Eric Dalen officiated 367regular season games in his first seven NBA seasons. Prior to the NBA, Dalen worked for five seasons in the NBA D-League and officiated the 2008 All-Star Game and Finals. He also officiated for three years in the Southeastern Conference. Dalen was a two-year letter winner at the University of Minnesota where he played tight end for the football team.

I couldn't find much controversy on the guy other than an article where Andrew Bynum was complaining about Dalen calling all 6 fouls on him in a game in 2008. Some games he has called for the Celtics have been evenly called and well officiated while others have been terrible with bad and no calls and one sided officiating. In a game vs Detroit last season, the Celtics shot 34 free throws to 10 for the Pistons and the Celtics got the benefit of most of the questionable calls. He may be good or he may be bad depending on the other refs and the game.

He called the game vs the Sixers this season and the officiating was good and they let them play. Just 18 free throws for the Celtics and 15 for the Sixers. The Celtics are 2-2 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Dalen. The Mavericks are 1-2 this season and 5-5 in their last 10. Dalen calls 40.4 fouls per game with 51.3% called on the home team. His home W/L record this season is 15-13.

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