Game 18 Preview: Mavs vs Celtics

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.

Matchup Summary:

Dallas Mavericks Boston Celtics
Record  8-9  10-9
Position 12th in West 6th in East
PPG 109.9 106.4
Points Allowed 108.8 103.7
FG % 46.0% 43.5%
3p % 35.5% 36.2%
FT % 75.4% 76.7%
RPG 44.7 46.4
APG 22.5 24.6
TO 16.1 13.1

Projected Starters:

Dallas Mavericks PTS REB AST STL BLK
PG Dennis Smith, Jr 14.1 2.7 3.9 1.1 0.4
SG Dorian Finney-Smith 9 4 0.8 0.9 0.6
SF Luka Doncic 19.3 6.9 4.1 0.9 0.3
PF Harrison Barnes 16.8 4.8 1.2 0.8 0.2
C DeAndre Jordan 11.2 13.6 2.4 0.6 1.1
Boston Celtics PTS REB AST STL BLK
PG Kyrie Irving 21.9 4.9 6.2 1.7 0.6
SG Jaylen Brown 10.8 4.1 1.3 0.6 0.6
SF Jason Tatum 15.9 6.7 2 0.9 0.5
PF Al Horford 11.7 6.3 3.6 0.7 1.8
C Aron Baynes 12.6 8.7 1.7 0.6 1.9

Injury Report:

Player Team Description
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!


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