On the road, without Jaylen Brown, and playing their third game in four nights, the Boston Celtics made a spirited second-half comeback in Dallas. But Luka Doncic had the last shot, and his dagger three at the buzzer would be the difference in a 107-104 Mavericks win.
Jayson Tatum pumped in 32 points (20 in the second half) with a game-high 11 rebounds for Boston, going on a personal 8-0 run in the third quarter and contributing on both ends of the floor. His key steal and dish to Marcus Smart for a three gave the Celtics their first lead late in the fourth, 104-102. But the Mavs secured multiple offensive boards the next time down the floor, tying it on a Kristaps Porzingis dunk.
Following missed shots and turnovers by both teams as well as an ill-advised foul by Smart, Doncic sent the crowd home happy with a 26-foot rainbow over three Boston defenders.
The Dallas All-Star led all scorers with 33 points. Porzingis tossed in 21.
Tatum was backed up by Dennis Schroder with 20 points, while Robert Williams contributed 16 points and eight rebounds.
The Celtics cut the lead to eight in the second quarter but Dallas closed the first half on a 15-6 run to build a 17-point halftime lead. Tatum watched the majority of that stretch from the sideline following a collision with Reggie Bullock.
The Green started ice cold, making just two of their first 12 shots and trailed by 14 after one.
They bricked 15-of-17 three-point attempts in the first half.
Coach Ime Udoka said pregame that the team is being “cautious” with Brown’s injury, with the possibility that he could miss a few weeks. The All-Star returned to Boston for further evaluation.
Romeo Langford did not play due to an illness (not COVID-19).
The C’s are now 4-6 on the season. They’ll get a few days off before returning to TD Garden Wednesday night. Their opponent will be the Toronto Raptors, who notably blew out the Green in the home opener. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Sean Sylver can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Talk hoops with him on Twitter @TheSylverFox.