Avery Bradley goes up for the block on Dallas guard Wesley Matthews (23) Wednesday at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)
After dropping their most recent decision to a team off to an underwhelming start, the Celtics didn’t have much room to falter against a Mavericks team entering the game 2-7. The C’s bent but didn’t totally break, sidling past the Mavs 90-83.
Avery Bradley put up a double-double, dropping 18 points while setting a career-high in rebounds as he grabbed 13 boards.
Isaiah Thomas got off to a slow start, but catching fire when it mattered in the fourth quarter. He entered the final frame with eight points, he dropped 22 points in the quarter. Up until then, his quiet production was nearly palpable given the lack of a support system with the exception of Bradley.
Early on, it didn’t take the Celtics long to find their stride, jumping to an 11-3 run to start the game. Oftentimes it felt as though the Celtics were running away with the game, but the Mavs stayed within an arms reach most of the night. For the most part, they stayed within 8-12 points, but they made a surge in the fourth quarter to take a lead with 6:43 left, keeping things close for the remainder of the game. They traded chances with the Celtics, but were never able to create enough of a lead to totally fend the C’s off.
The low-scoring final tally, while far from a positive on the offensive end, was at least a modest hope for a team struggling to keep opposing point totals low. Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews dropped 28 and 22 points, respectively for the Mavs, but the Celtics otherwise kept point production low and contained. As a result, there was a noticeable lack of offense when either one was on the bench.
The timing of the win couldn’t have been better for the Celtics. After a poor effort on Monday, and a tilt against the Warriors on deck Friday, Wednesday served as a fine enough confidence booster as well as tune up for a Warriors team off to a hot start.
The win also marked the end of a long winless streak for the Celtics against the Mavs. The C’s dropped the last six decisions against Dallas, with their previous win coming on Dec. 12, 2012.
For a complete box score, click here.
Stud of the night: Fourth Quarter Isaiah Thomas
Thomas was slow the first three periods, and the Celtics were starting to struggle because of it. Thomas then proceeded to erupt for 22 fourth quarter points, keeping the Celtics in it when they lost the lead. Conversely, he was the most integral part of the Celtics creating space between themselves and the Mavs in the final stages of the game.
Dud of the night: Andrew Bogut
Facing a Celtics team that has had its fair share of trouble on the glass through their first ten games, Bogut’s low post presence could have created some problems. Instead, he found himself in foul trouble and struggling to grab a rebounds, eventually fouling out with 5:17 to go. He ultimately snatched seven boards as he frequently swapped on and off the bench, never truly establishing rhythm.
When the game was won: Isaiah Thomas’ 3-pointer with 5:58 remaining
It was starting to look like the Celtics were on the verge of dropping another decision to a struggling team, down 70-66 with 6:15 left in the game. Thomas then stepped up and hit a 25-footer to bring the Celtics within one. From then on, the Celtics continued to create and execute chances, while finding ways to shut down the Mavs on the defensive end.