(Sports Network) - Two teams striving to make the postseason clash Friday
night in Big D, where the Dallas Mavericks will entertain the Boston Celtics.
The Mavericks haven't done themselves any favors by alternating wins and
losses over the past six and are 3 1/2 games off the eighth and final playoff
berth in the Western Conference.
Dallas opened a season-long, six-game homestand with Wednesday's 113-96 loss
to the Brooklyn Nets and was led by Dirk Nowitzki's 16 points. Chris Kaman had
14 points for the Mavericks, who are 18-14 as the host and were outrebounded
by the Nets, 45-34. Defense was an issue for a Mavs team that has shot 50
percent or better seven times in the last 11 games.
The Mavericks are 16-3 this season when they shoot 50-plus percent from the
"Our defense wasn't good enough," said Nowitzki, who notched his 9,000th
career rebound and is averaging 18.1 ppg since the All-Star break.
The Mavs did have a 32-22 lead after the first quarter, then were outscored in
each of the final three periods.
Dallas is also slated to host the Jazz, Clippers, Pacers and Bulls.
Boston is two games ahead of Milwaukee in the seventh spot in the East, but
can still improve its position in the postseason hunt.
The Celtics opened a three-game road trip with a heartbreaking 87-86 loss to
the lowly New Orleans Hornets Wednesday night and were burned by Anthony
Davis' putback with 0.3 seconds remaining.
Kevin Garnett was back at work following a two-game absence because of a thigh
injury and managed to post 20 points. Paul Pierce scored a game-high 28 points
for the Celtics, who were coming off a close loss to the Miami Heat and have
dropped four of the previous six games.
"We have to come out with better focus than we had tonight," said Pierce. "We
didn't take advantage of the opportunity we had tonight and that's not
Jeff Green, who racked up a career-best 43 points in Boston's 105-103 loss to
the Heat on Monday, finished with 13 in the Big Easy.
Boston is 12-21 on the road and will conclude the jaunt Saturday against the
Memphis Grizzlies. The Celtics needed double overtime to get past the
Mavericks, 117-115, back on Dec. 12 in Beantown. Pierce scored 34 points and
O.J. Mayo ended with 24 points for Dallas, which had won four straight and
five of six meetings in this series.
The Celtics have lost nine of 12 and 13 of its last 17 trips to Big D.
The Sports Network