In Boston’s third game in four nights on the road, the Celtics lost on a Luka Doncic buzzer beater 107-104 to the Mavericks.
Without Jaylen Brown in the lineup, Jayson Tatum took over and broke out of his slump. After making just 15 of his last 51 shots over the last three games, the two-time All-Star scored 32, hitting 6-for-8 behind the arc with 11 rebounds. Tatum registered only two assists, but was active passing out of double teams when Dallas blitzed him with double teams.
Dennis Schroder replaced Brown in the starting lineup and scored 20 points with 6 assists.
After holding the Magic and Heat to 78 and 79 points respectively, the Celtics gave up 57 points in the first half. The 5-3 Mavericks entered the game with the 24th best offense in the NBA. However, the defense that the team displayed in Orlando and Miami returned in the third quarter, giving up just 22 points and cutting down a 17-point halftime deficit to just seven.
In the fourth quarter, Boston climbed all the way back and held a two-point lead late in the game. Unfortunately, several unlucky turnovers — Schroder grabbing a defensive rebound and dribbling it off Tatum’s foot and fumbling the ball in the half court— cost the Celtics a chance at a clean sweep of their road trip.
For the Mavericks, there’s no question who’s getting shots and handling the ball in Jason Kidd’s point guard-centric offense: Luka Doncic and recently, his back up Jalen Brunson. Including his game-winning shot over three Celtics, Doncic torched Boston with 33 points, 9 rebounds, and five assists. Brunson scored 13. In his return from injury, Kristaps Porzingis netted 21.
After missing a chance to play against his former team in Miami, Josh Richardson was solid and scored 13 on 6-for-12 from the field, including several key buckets in Boston’s fourth quarter comeback. Richardson spent last season in Dallas before being traded to Boston and signing an extension with the Celtics this summer.
Jaylen Brown missed tonight’s game (and potentially another additional two weeks) as the Celtics’ leading scorer is set to undergo more testing to determine the severity of his strained right hamstring. Romeo Langford was also unavailable with a non-COVID illness.
The Celtics now have four days off before they host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night and the Milwaukee Bucks on a quick two-game homestand.
For more postgame coverage of the Celtics nailbiting loss in Dallas, tune into the the Garden Report Postgame Show LIVE on CLNS Media right after the game. Join A Sherrod Blakely, Bobby Manning, Josue Pavon, Jimmy Toscano and host John Zannis for a full postgame breakdown. They’ll talk about Udoka’s adjustments in the second half and commiserate after Docic’s dagger.