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Boston hangs tough, beat Dallas 116-106

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In a classic arm wrestle game at TD Garden, Boston prevail led by Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker, extend the winning streak to 8 games.

Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

After a successful three-game road trip, the Celtics returned home to face Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart were tasked with slowing down the enigmatic second year player. Doncic has been tracking toward the MVP conversation this season averaging a near triple double and the Cs did a good job on him early as Boston held Dallas to just 21 on 26% shooting in the opening quarter. The Celtics would score 25 as they looked to hold back the free flowing Mavericks who rank sixth highest scoring team in the NBA at 116.3 points per game.

Theis received a knock to the hand early in the game and got strapped on the sideline by the Boston medical staff. These Hospital Celtics would receive a break though as Daniel returned to the fray and immediately skied for a slam from a nicely weighted pass from Jaylen Brown.

Enes Kanter would return to action for Boston after missing the last 7 straight wins. Kanter received a warm reception in his first ever home game in green, and had an immediate impact being aggressive on the offensive glass and drawing a third foul on the unicorn Kristaps Porzingis who was left out of position. Enes Kanter would also hit on his first jumper and grab 3 boards in his 5 minute cameo on the court.

Boston surrendered the lead to head into halftime at 54-54 apiece. With 8 turnovers and the team hitting on just 26% from three. Starter Jayson Tatum had a poor half going 0-8 from the field in 16 minutes of action and Kemba Walker had 3 turnovers and only 2 made baskets. With the absence of steadying force Gordon Hayward, it was a case of next man up, as Brad Wanamaker came in to give the Cs bench a lift with a solid 8 points and 3 rebs. Jaylen Brown was also back to his dynamic best logging 12 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in the first half alone.

Marcus Smart went full Cobra mode right before the end of the half with a beautiful take away and stellar behind the back pass to Robert Williams III.

The start of the 2nd half was one way traffic for the Celtics as Kemba Walker came alive hitting a pair of threes to see Boston quickly re-establish a 13 point lead before most fans could even get back to their seats after the intermission. Although Tatum continued to struggle with shot in the third, his heads up play to find the streaking Brown for the easy basket was a highlight.

Doncic’s shooting and passing led the Mavs back into the game as Dallas kept hanging around to trail 84-79 through three. As the old adage goes a shooter should keep shooting, however as Tatum Iso’d himself into a horrible long jumper which hit the top corner of the backboard on his 15th shot (1-18 shooting), Celtics fans were left shaking their collective heads.

With Boston sending the Mavs into the bonus situation, Dallas eventually grabbed the lead in a tight 4th quarter behind a Jalen Brunson floater. Then Kemba Walker happened, the All-NBA PG took control with the game in the balance behind some terrific made three pointers on the way to a stunning 24 point 2nd half performance.

Kemba Walker 29 points, 8 made threes, 5 rebs, 5 assists would go to the bench clutching a sore neck after colliding with Luka Doncic. Jaylen Brown 25 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists was excellent once more, proving the worth of his newly negotiated contract. Smart 14 points, 6 assists and 3-6 from three had another nice night as he stepped back into the starting lineup. Boston host Washington on Wednesday looking to extend the winning streak to 9.