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Celtics host Mavericks in a clash of injury riddled teams

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The Celtics return from their 2 game road trip to face the Dallas Mavericks with both teams missing key players.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

at
Dallas Mavericks (2-7) at Boston Celtics (5-5)
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #11 – Home Game #5
TV: CSN-NE, FSSW, NBA-LP 757(DTV)/754(xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub, 103.3 FM ESPN
TD Garden

Referees: James Capers, Steve Anderson, Pat Fraher

The Celtics return from their 2 game road trip to face the Dallas Mavericks, who are playing in the second game of a two game road trip. The Mavericks lost to the Knicks 93-77 in the first game of their road trip. The Mavs have lost their last 2 games while the Celtics are coming off one loss, having won the first game of the road trip.

The Mavs have won 7 straight games against the Celtics and 11 of their last 12 meetings. Four of the last 5 wins have been by 5 points or less. The lone Celtics win in the last 12 meetings was a 117-115 double-overtime win at Boston on 12/12/12.

The Mavs have been hampered by injuries as have the Celtics. Deron Williams is questionable for this game and has missed the last 4 games with a calf injury. Dirk Nowitski missed 4 games due to an Achilles strain He went through the shoot around in New York before the game but said that he is still struggling to run and just wasn't ready. He will be a game time decision. JJ Barea will more than likely start for Williams if he is out for this game. Dorian Finney Smith or former Celtic Dwight Powell will probably get the start should Dirk be unable to go.


Quincy Acy is questionable with a facial injury. Devin Harris is expected to miss this game with a toe injury. Jae Crowder will miss his 7th game with an ankle sprain. Al Horford has been making progress but is still doubtful for this game as he goes through the league's concussion protocol. He wouldn't rule out returning for this game, but his status is listed as doubtful. Isaiah Thomas is expected to continue to play with a sprained index finger on his shooting hand. Demetrius Jackson has been recalled from the Red Claws.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard

vs
Isaiah Thomas vs Deron Williams

Shooting Guard
vs
Marcus Smart vs Wesley Matthews

Small Forward

vs
Marcus Smart vs Harrison Barnes

Power Forward

vs
Kelly Olynyk vs Dirk Nowitzki

Center

vs
Amir Johnson vs Andrew Bogut


Celtics Reserves
Jaylen Brown
Gerald Green
Demetrius Jackson
Jordan Mickey
Terry Rozier
James Young
Jonas Jerebko
Tyler Zeller

Injuries

Al Horford (concussion) doubtful
Jae Crowder (ankle) out

Head Coach
Brad Stevens


Mavs Reserves
Justin Anderson
Jose Juan Barea
Seth Curry
Dorian Finney Smith
AJ Hammons
Salah Mejri
Dwight Powell

Head Coach

Rick Carlisle

Key Matchups
vs
Kelly Olynyk vs Dirk Nowitski
Dirk may be getting older, but he is still a dangerous player. He is averaging 12.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 blocks. Dirk can score both inside and out and so will be a tough matchup. Dirk has averaged 26.0 points in 33 career games vs the Celtics, the most he has averaged against any team in the league. Dirk has been struggling with injuries and so he may or may not play in this one.

vs
Marcus Smart vs Harrison Barnes
Barnes is averaging 22.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. With both Dirk and Deron battling injuries, Barnes has taken on the job of leading the team. Marcus needs to keep him from having a big game.

Honorable Mention
Isaiah Thomas vs Deron Williams
Isaiah scored 37 points against the Pelicans but he was very inefficient as his shot is off due to the finger injury. Hopefully he can be more efficient in this game. Williams, who is averaging 15 points and 5.8 assists, may or may not play in this game as he has been struggling with a calf injury.

Keys to the Game
Defense - The Celtics seem to be getting their defensive swagger back somewhat and they need to continue to play that tough in your face defense that has made them so successful in the past. Defense wins games. The Celtics are allowing 108.1 points per game and that won't get it done. The Mavericks haven't been exactly locking down teams either, allowing 101.3 points per game.

Rebound
- Much of rebounding is effort and the Celtics have to put out extra 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 41.3 rebounds per game while the Mavs are averaging 41.7 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 to be the team that wants it more.

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.

X-Factors
Home Game - The Celtics are back home and should get a boost from the home crowd cheering them on. Hopefully the hostile crowd will throw the Mavs off and give the Celtics the home court advantage.

Injuries - Both teams have key players dealing with injuries. Nowitzki, Williams, and Horford are all possible but game time decisions. It goes without saying that if any of those players returns it would give that team a boost.