Terdema Ussery in 1991
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Mass
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics utilized a dominant stretch on the defensive end during their hot start, but the offensive attack is beginning to catch up for the NBA’s top team. The Celtics will try to continue to pile up the points and win their fourth straight when they finish a five-game homestand against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.
Kyrie Irving scored 32 points and Al Horford finished with 20, nine rebounds and eight assists as Boston shot over 50 percent from the floor for the fifth straight time in a 111-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. “I think it’s just the work I’ve been putting in. It’s starting to pay off for me,” Horford told reporters. “I feel like we’re starting to find our rhythm as a group, and I’m finding my rhythm, too.” Boston’s 16-game winning streak earlier in the season included a 110-102 overtime victory at Dallas, which was in the early stages of turning around a dismal start. Since opening 2-14, the Mavericks are 5-3 and they have their second two-game winning streak in that span after Monday’s 122-105 victory over Denver.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Dallas), NBCSN Boston
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (7-17): Harrison Barnes scored 22 points and was part of a Dallas unit that shot a season-high 57 percent and turned the ball over a season-low seven times in Monday’s win. “Our identity just happens to be very gritty on defense and have each other’s backs, and then ball security on offense,” rookie Dennis Smith Jr. told the media after a 20-point effort. “If we do both of those things, we’re gonna win a lot of games.” Reserve guard Yogi Ferrell, who was 5-for-23 from the floor over the previous three games, provided a spark off the bench with 16 points on 7-of-9.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (21-4): Irving and Horford are the veteran stars carrying this unit, but the ease with which rookie Jayson Tatum has taken on a key supporting role continues to impress. “I think his mannerisms are just one that you can’t see if he’s rattled or not,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said after Tatum opened the game with four 3-pointers in as many attempts in the first quarter. “His composure is at a very high level to only be 19.” Tatum finished 4-of-5 from beyond the arc and entered Tuesday leading the NBA at 51.3 percent from long range, including 9-of-13 over a four-game stretch.
1. Irving had a season-high 47 points – including 10 in OT – in the first meeting.
2. Barnes averages 7.6 rebounds on the season but has at least eight in six straight games, including 10 in back-to-back outings.
3. Horford is shooting 65.3 percent at home this season, compared to 48.4 percent on the road.
Dallas 122, L.A. Lakers 111
When: 8:30 PM ET, Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas
DALLAS – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Dirk Nowitzki described the evening as surreal. Historic is appropriate, too. The greatest player in Dallas Mavericks history reached the 30,000-point milestone in rousing fashion, showing off the range of shots that have defined his Hall of Fame career. Nowitzki scored a team-high 25 points — he needed 20 coming in for 30K — to lead the Mavericks to a 122-111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.
“Just an amazing experience,” the 19-year veteran said. “After every basket I made, I felt a buzz in the crowd.”
Dallas (27-36) has won three straight and five of six. The Mavericks are within nine games of .500 for the first time since being 2-11 on Nov. 21. They have gone 16-9 since mid-January to climb back into playoff contention.
The sixth-leading scorer in NBA history hit the magical number on his signature one-legged, step-back jumper along the baseline early in the second quarter. That came after he lit up the Lakers for 18 points in the first period.
“I head into the second quarter sitting on 18, and I remember walking out onto the court and everybody got up,” Nowitzki said. “So I got a little nervous and hoisted an airball, but I was able to regroup and make the next shot.”
In the midst of an arena-wide celebration, Nowitzki followed with a long 3-pointer on the next trip down the court before the game was stopped.
A video tribute followed as Nowitzki was mobbed by his teammates, coaches and team owner Mark Cuban. Nowitzki came out to center court to acknowledge the cheers and wave thanks to the fans.
“Sort of surreal; 30,000 is amazing,” he said. “It’s a lot of points, obviously. Every milestone makes you reflect a little bit. It makes you reflect on the people that have helped you and been with you all of this way.”
The Mavs were prepared for the moment, with commemorative T-shirts passed out to everyone in attendance, even if coach Rick Carlisle shied away from the topic before the game.
“It’s going to take a while to sink in, what this really means,” Carlisle said. “The benchmark in baseball is 3,000 hits, and there are 30 guys with 3,000 hits in the history of baseball. There’s only six that have 30,000 points in the history of our game. The magnitude of this moment is something that we’ll all probably need some time to digest.”
Nowitzki got going in a hurry. He scored Dallas’ first eight points, hitting two quick 3-pointers. He made his first six shots from the floor and tied the highest-scoring first period of his career as the Mavs began to pull away.
The lead hit 21 in the second quarter and Dallas took a 70-52 advantage into the break. Nowitzki had 25 points at halftime, one shy of a season high. He didn’t score in the second half and didn’t need to with the lead reaching 31.
Seven Mavericks scored in double figures, including all five starters. Seth Curry knocked down four 3-pointers and scored 18 points. Yogi Ferrell had 16 points and seven assists. Wesley Matthews scored 15 points on five 3-pointers, and Harrison Barnes added 14 points. Nerlens Noel had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.
The Mavericks also continued their mastery of the Lakers, running their head-to-head winning streak to 14 and sweeping another season series. Los Angeles (19-45) lost its eighth in a row, tying a season high.
“Teams feel like when they play us right now, that we are a soft team that they can come in and get their offensive numbers against,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “It has to be up to us to change that, and the only way to change that is to do it out there on the court.”
Backup point guard Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell each scored 22 points for the Lakers. Nick Young, Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram scored 13 each.
Randle, a Dallas native, was a Kobe Bryant fan growing up, but he grew to admire Nowitzki.
“To this fan base, to this city of Dallas, he is big-time,” Randle said. “He is their Kobe.”
The Lakers finish a two-game road trip Thursday at Phoenix.
Dallas looks to go to improve to 4-0 on its five-game homestand Friday when it faces the Brooklyn Nets.
NOTES: The other five players with at least 30,000 points are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419). … Dallas F Dirk Nowitzki’s 18-point first quarter represented his highest total in a quarter since he netted 20 against the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 11, 2014. … The Lakers officially announced the hiring of former player agent Rob Pelinka as general manager. … Dallas PG J.J. Barea (calf) hoped to play but was ruled out before the game.
BOSTON – (Wire Service Report – Special to Digital Sports Desk) – Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, taking advantage of injuries to the Dallas Mavericks backcourt, put on a one-man show down the stretch at TD Garden Wednesday night.
With Deron Williams, J.J. Barea and Devin Harris all out with injuries by game’s end, Thomas, who had been quiet most of the night, exploded for 20 points and a dynamic assist in the final 6:01 to carry Boston to a 90-83 victory over the Mavericks.
Thomas, who hasn’t scored fewer than 23 points in a game this season, was 3-for-13 from the floor through three quarters and then erupted, finishing with 30 points (22 in the fourth quarter), six assists and four rebounds.
With no real guards to cover him, Thomas fouled 7-footer Andrew Bogut out with a 3-point attempt (he hit the three free throws) and then drove past 6-11 Dwight Powell on the next two possession.
Thomas heard chants of “M-V-P” as he hit two free throws with 41.4 seconds left.
He scored all but four of Boston’s points down the stretch. Avery Bradley, who finished with 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, scored the other points, one a slam dunk off a behind-the-back Thomas feed.
Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews did their best to keep the Mavericks alive, but with Dirk Nowitzki on the bench in street clothes and the guards hurt, Dallas (2-8) just ran out of gas. Barnes finished with 28 points, and Matthews had 22.
Kelly Olynyk was the only other double-figure scorer for the Celtics, with 10 points.
Williams, who returned to the Dallas lineup after missing four games with a calf injury, logged 9:34 in the first half, didn’t score, missed all three shots, two from 3-point range, then left the game and didn’t return.
Berea, who had been starting in place of Williams, went to the floor in pain with a left leg injury in the fourth quarter and was helped from the floor. He had nine points and six assists in 28 minutes off the bench.
There were no free throws in the second quarter, with Dallas taking just one in the half — and that one was on a technical foul on a defensive three-second call. The Celtics (6-5) were 2-for-6 from the line. The two teams that had gone to the line the fewest times in the league combined for seven attempts in the half.
The Celtics held a 39-31 halftime lead as Dallas shot just 31.1 percent from the floor in the first 24 minutes.
It took more than two minutes for either team to score in the third quarter but Boston, which led by as many as 12 in the first half, used a 7-2 run to lead 46-34.
The Mavs then took their first free throw after an actual foul with 7:18 left in the third quarter — and four straight foul shots and a basket by Barnes cut the lead to six.
Dallas took its first lead of the game with 8:14 left in the game and actually led by four with 6:16 remaining.
Thomas, who also had five of Boston’s 19 turnovers, then took over, starting his run with a 3-pointer.
NOTES: F Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles) and G Devin Harris (toe) remained out for the Mavericks. On Nowitzki, who missed his fifth straight game, coach Rick Carlisle said: “He’s not going to play. He worked out this morning hard. He’s getting closer, but he’s not there yet.” … The Celtics were still missing F Al Horford (concussion) and F Jae Crowder (ankle), but both should be close to a return, with Crowder expected to practice Thursday. Coach Brad Stevens said both players had “a great workout” earlier Wednesday. … The Mavericks host the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. The Celtics complete their two-game homestand against the Golden State Warriors on Friday before they depart on a three-game road trip.
The Professional Basketball Writers Association took the most decisive action on Monday morning and released the following statement “in response to the Dallas Mavericks’ move to revoke the credentials of Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein.”
“We are deeply troubled by the Dallas Mavericks’ move to revoke the credentials of two respected, longtime NBA journalists. The Mavericks’ move is without merit. We call on the Mavericks to reverse their decision or for NBA officials to intervene to allow Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein to continue their work.”