The Boston Celtics traveled to face the Dallas Mavericks after 5 days off, and they managed to overcome the absence of Gordon Hayward . . . and Marcus Smart . . . and Robert Williams III . . . and Vincent Poirier to beat the Mavs 109-103. Kemba Walker led all scorers with 32 points, and Kristaps Porzingis paced Dallas with 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Kemba Walker took over the first period, scoring 16 points – including a stretch where he scored 10 points in a row for a stagnant Boston offense. Without the team’s two best passers in uniform, the Celtics had difficulty scoring on many occasions. In the second period, the Jays took over to close a gap that had opened up earlier in the period. Kemba Walker came back to life in the second half to help put it away.
Jayson Tatum finished with 24 points and 8 rebounds, and Jaylen Brown poured in 26 points of his own along with 9 rebounds. Both of them started cold, but they turned it around after Kemba Walker took the early burden. Enes Kanter chipped in 13 rebounds, but he had difficulty scoring against Dallas’ length. Grant Williams got his second 3-pointer to fall tonight. With the team so shorthanded, even Romeo Langford got some minutes tonight.
Although the Dallas Mavericks have one of the best benches in the league, they weren’t able to extinguish Boston’s shorthanded star power. Of course, the Mavs themselves were missing one of the entire NBA’s biggest stars in Luka Doncic, who’s sidelined with an ankle sprain. Seth Curry stepped up in his absence to put up 20 points.
As expected after 5 days off and a whole host of rotation players sitting the game out, things got rough at times. In the end, Boston’s three stars overshadowed Porzingis and the Mavs’ depth, and that’s the story of the game. Walker, Tatum and Brown turned it up in the second half – particularly the back half of the last quarter – and despite a brief scare in the last minute, they were able to hold off a late barrage.
Boston is now 18-7, and they’ll travel back home to Boston to take on the Detroit Pistons next on Friday at 7:30 PM EST.