By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Celtics guard Kemba Walker started white-hot and finished strong, as the undermanned Celtics defeated the Mavericks by a 109-103 final at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday night.
In Dallas without Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward, as well as big men Robert Williams and Vincent Poirier, Walker started the night with a bang behind a 16-point opening quarter headlined by three makes from downtown as the teams were tied at 29-29 through the first 12 minutes of action.
But Walker was held off the board for the entirety of the second quarter, and as the C’s struggled force Dallas into turnovers, the Green found themselves down by five points at the half.
The C’s responded in the third quarter, though, draining 10 of their 24 attempts (including five from three-point range), and carried a three-point edge into the fourth quarter as a result of their strong shooting.
And in the fourth, and with Kristaps Porzingis eventually fouled out, it was Walker who took over, as he totaled 13 points in less than seven minutes of play, led by three conversions behind the arc as the C’s cruised despite some late comeback attempts from the Mavericks’ Seth Curry.
But this was about more than Walker, as the Celtics also got solid contributions from Jaylen Brown (26 points) and Jayson Tatum (24 points), as the Green’s three-headed monster combined for 82 of Boston’s 109 points in the victory. The trio was especially dominant in the fourth quarter, as they sank seven of their 16 shots and totaled 28 of Boston’s 33 points in the frame.
Though it’s easy to find yourself satisfied with the result given what the C’s were missing (though it’s worth noting that the Mavericks were without legit MVP candidate Luka Doncic), Celtics coach Brad Stevens was among those considerably unhappy with the victory, calling Boston’s defense “awful” and stressing need for stronger commitment on that end of the floor.
The Celtics will return home for a Friday night head-to-head with the Pistons.