Another game, another disappointing ending for the Celtics. Despite keeping things close for most of the night, and erasing a double-digit fourth quarter deficit, the C’s fell to the Mavericks Tuesday night in Dallas, 110-107.
Both teams played a back-and-forth game until late in the fourth quarter, when Luka Doncic took over the game. He hit two monumental threes in the final minute, including the buzzer beating game winner. In total, the game had 25 lead changes and six ties, while neither side led by more than 12 at any point.
In the first quarter, the Celtics were able to jump out to a quick five-point lead. However, the Mavericks put the 7-foot-4 Bobam Marjanovic into the game, which stifled the C’s ability to score in the paint. Dallas flipped the momentum with a 12-4 run, and the teams went back-and-forth the rest of the quarter. Doncic’s first of two buzzer beaters on the night gave the Mavs a 33-31 lead after one.
The Mavericks had the lead for most of the second quarter, but that lead never expanded beyond five points. A 9-4 run by the Celtics at the end of the half was enough to swing the advantage, and Boston went into the break up 56-55.
Neither team picked up any extended momentum in the third quarter either. Once again, neither team led by more than five. This time, it was the Celtics holding the advantage for most of the quarter, but the Mavs closed on a 7-0 run, to grab an 80-76 lead heading into the fourth.
With seven minutes to play in the fourth, the Mavericks finally broke through the five point barrier, with a 7-0 run giving them a 94-87 lead. That turned into a 14-2 run for Dallas, who picked up the first double-digit lead of the night with just under four minutes to play.
The Celtics responded with a 7-0 run of their own, which cut the Mavericks’ lead to four and forced a Dallas timeout with two and a half minutes to play.
Kemba Walker hit a contested three to make it a one-point game, and after some sloppy play from both teams, Jaylen Brown finished erasing the deficit by hitting an elbow jumper with 38 seconds to play.
Back the other way, Doncic was able to draw Daniel Theis as a defender. He was able to cross up the Celtics’ center and hit a three pointer to put the Mavs back up two with 15 seconds left.
Continuing the back-and-forth, Brown hit yet another game-tying shot with just under 10 second left. But Doncic and the Mavs would have the last laugh, as the 21-year-old Doncic hit a three pointer with time winding down to win the game.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were the Celtics’ two leading scorers, on the same day the duo was named to this year’s NBA All-Star game. Brown scored 29 points, Tatum 28. Kemba Walker added 21, and was the only other Celtic to finish with double digits.
Doncic’s buzzer beater capped a massive night that saw him go for 31 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. The Mavericks also got a strong contribution from their bench, with Jalen Brunson scoring 22 points, and Tim Hardaway Jr. adding 14.
With the loss, the Celtics drop to 15-16 on the season, and fall under .500 for the first time since they started the season 1-2. It’s the first time Boston has had a sub-.500 record this late in the season since 2015.
The Celtics finish their road back-to-back on Wednesday night in Atlanta, for their third meeting of the season with the Hawks. Boston is 1-1 against Atlanta this season, with both meetings coming last week.. That game tips off at 7:30 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 7:00 on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.