After a win(!) on the road last night against the Atlanta Hawks, the Celtics are back in action tonight on the road in Dallas. The Celtics look to keep the forward momentum going against an 8-9 Mavericks team. It will be the second of a road back-to-back which might make things a bit more difficult in a game ordinarily they should win. Luckily, the Hawks game was in the Celtics control for most of the contest, so there was no one that had to play more than 25 minutes. This will be very important tonight based on the team’s stamina.
Last night, Boston looked like a different team compared to the previous three games. They put up 45 points in the first quarter and had the offense rolling. Four starters scored in double digits and Aron Baynes was the lead scorer with only 16 points. It was a complete team win which they needed desperately. Some of the credit goes to the Hawks, but hey, you have to take the wins wherever you can, being in the slump the Celtics have been in.
The Mavericks this season have been a bit better than expected. Even as their record is only 8-9, most were not sure how Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic would look on this roster with some veterans sprinkled throughout. They will be coming off a home win against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. Harrison Barnes had a season-high 28 points in this contest.
The main story for the Mavericks is rookie sensation Luka Doncic. It will be exciting to be able to watch him against the league’s best defense. Doncic, who leads the Mavs in scoring, is exactly how he was advertised going into the draft. He impacts the game through scoring, creating, and rebounding. Luckily, the Celtics have multiple people to be able to switch on him to hopefully deter his production.
Another Maverick to watch for is DeAndre Jordan. He has always had incredible rebounding games against the Celtics, so look for Aron Baynes to play a good amount to bring some physicality and disrupt Jordan down low.
The Celtics can hopefully continue shooting the ball well after last night shooting 46.2% from the field. Without Gordon Hayward, they may have the same strategy as last night without Horford. If Boston is able to go up early in this matchup, it could be enough to take the wind out of the Dallas sails, especially on a Saturday night at the American Airline Center.
The Celtics will be down Gordon Hayward tonight as he is battling knee soreness. It is mostly precautionary. Games without a main contributor are never a positive, but the silver lining is that it is one less guy who needs touches. It was very prominent last night in the first quarter because that, paired with great shooting, equals a 45-point first quarter. On the other side for the Mavericks, they will be without Wesley Matthews and Dwight Powell with Dennis Smith Jr questionable for the game. Dorian Finney-Smith will be inserted in the starting lineup for Matthews.
Al Horford will be back in the starting lineup next to Aron Baynes. The depth could be an issue, so the bench will be crucial to keep the intensity up without Hayward and possibly Rozier. The Celtics need to continue their success and secure another win on the road.
PG - Kyrie Irving – Dennis Smith Jr.
SG - Jaylen Brown – Luka Doncic
SF - Jayson Tatum – Dorian Finney-Smith
PF - Al Horford– Harrison Barnes
C – Aron Baynes – DeAndre Jordan
Boston – Gordon Hayward (Out- Knee soreness); Terry Rozier (Questionable- Knee soreness)
Dallas- Dennis Smith Jr. (Questionable- Wrist); Wesley Matthews (Out- Hamstring); Dwight Powell (Out- Knee)
How to Watch
Time – 8:30 PM EST
TV – NBC Sports Boston