The Mavericks host the Boston Celtics at the American Airlines Center tonight for a 7:30 pm CT tip-off. The Mavs sit just 1.5 games back of the 8 seed in the West and a win tonight would complete the climb back to .500.
|Dallas Mavericks||Boston Celtics|
|Position||12th in West||6th in East|
|PG||Dennis Smith, Jr||14.1||2.7||3.9||1.1||0.4|
|Wesley Matthews||Dallas Mavericks||Questionable (Hamstring)|
|Dirk Nowitzki||Dallas Mavericks||Out (Foot)|
|Dwight Powell||Dallas Mavericks||Out (Left knee)|
|Dennis Smith Jr||Dallas Mavericks||Questionable (Wrist)|
|Jabari Bird||Boston Celtics||Out (Personal)|
|Al Horford||Boston Celtics||Day-to-Day (Sore Knee)|
This is a very interesting year for the Boston Celtics, after going to the Eastern Conference Finals last year without two of their stars, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, many would consider this season a failure if they did not end up representing the East in the NBA Finals. Bringing everybody back in the offseason, the Celtics are talented, deep, and well coached.
A big reason why this is an interesting year for Boston is because of the pending free agency of Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Morris. Remember, Kyrie never signed with the Celtics, he was traded to Boston after he demanded a trade out of Cleveland. He ended up in a great situation, but perhaps Boston is just a stepping stone to a long-term destination of his choice.
Although there is a lot of star power between these two teams, one of the biggest things to watch in this game is the battle of the benches. Boston is widely considered as having one of the best benches in the NBA and we know what JJ Barea and the Mavs bench can do. Will JJ still be able to orchestrate the offense effectively while being hounded by Scary Terry Rozier and, local Flower Mound product and defensive menace, Marcus Smart. As far as the starters go, I am sure Dennis Smith Jr will want to get some revenge on Kyrie from last year’s game where the two mixed it up and Kyrie got the best of DSJ.
We will also most likely see Luka matched up against Jason Tatum. Tatum had his coming out party last year in the playoffs and everyone has already deemed him a future NBA superstar. The Mavs have a young superstar of their own in Luka Doncic. Luka is younger and he is averaging more points, rebounds, and assists than Jason Tatum this season. I expect these two to have many matchups over the next 10 years but I am pumped for Round 1, Go Luka!