Though Kyrie Irving sat out his second-straight game as he continues to deal with an eye injury, the Celtics didn’t need a 35-point performance from anyone to make up for his absence on Friday. Instead, Boston put forth a total team effort in a 114-93 win over the Dallas Mavericks, sharing the ball with great efficiency to notch 34 assists on 42 made buckets.
Of the nine Celtics to see at least 15 minutes, only two failed to notch a single assist, and the way the ball moved was a big reason why they were able to have five guys score in double figures. Jaylen Brown (21), Jayson Tatum (18), Marcus Smart (17), Gordon Hayward (16), and Al Horford were among those who scored at least 10 points, while Brad Wanamaker (!) nearly joined the group with a career-high eight.
Boston opened up the game aggressive on defense, forcing the Mavericks into six first quarter turnovers that led to nine Celtics points, and back-to-back Wanamaker threes late in the frame put the Celtics up 34-23 heading into the second period.
The second quarter brought some shooting woes for the Celtics, though. An 0-for-10 stretch in the latter half of the period allowed Dallas to hang around for a while and Luka Doncic (19 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists) gave the Mavs some momentum going into the half with a 3-pointer off the glass to beat the buzzer, cutting the Celtics lead to 58-51.
Dallas came out of the break with a brief 6-0 run to pull itself within one, but shortly thereafter the Celtics found their groove again and answered with an 11-0 run of their own, highlighted by a 3 a piece from Horford and Tatum.
The fourth quarter was mostly garbage time, with Hayward hunting a triple-double (16/11/8) and the TD Garden clamoring for Dirk Nowitzki to drain a shot (NARRATOR: He unfortunately did not).
Boston will go for its third-straight win on Monday when the Celtics play the Brooklyn Nets.