WHO: Celtics (15-15) vs. Mavericks (14-15)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: American Airlines Arena
RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
G: Kemba Walker
G: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Daniel Theis
C: Tristan Thompson
G: Luka Doncic
G: Josh Richardson
F: Tim Hardaway Jr.
PF: Dorian Finney-Smith
C: Dwight Powell
The Boston Celtics (15-15, 15-15 ATS) continue their final road trip of the first half of the season in Dallas against the Mavericks (14-15, 12-17 ATS) at 7:30 EST.
Marcus Smart (calf) and Romeo Langford (wrist) remain out for Boston. Kristaps Porzingis (back) and Maxi Kleber (ankle) are out for the Mavericks.
According to the online sports book Betonline.ag, the Celtics are 2.5 point favorites.
Celtics vs. Mavericks spread: Celtics -2.5
Celtics vs. Mavericks over-under: 223.5 points
Celtics vs. Mavericks money line: Celtics -135, Mavericks +115
The Mavericks returned from a week off due to the deep freeze in Texas winners over the Memphis Grizzlies, and will play tonight on the back half of a back-to-back without Porzingis and Kleber, who was injured on Monday. Their depth bigs Dwight Powell and Willie Cauley-Stein struggled to keep Jonas Valanciunas off the offensive glass.
That looms large with Tristan Thompson, Daniel Theis and Robert Williams III leading the league’s fourth-highest offensive rebounding percentage. The Mavericks rank 26th in defensive rating (114.5) and allow opponents to shoot 46.5% from the field, further minimizing their rebounding rank (29th). Porzingis is their second-leading player in rebounding percentage.
Dallas is unlikely to pad that weakness with 7’4″ Boban Marjanovic, as they didn’t play him yesterday, instead turning up the pace and creating transition opportunities in a fast-paced win over Memphis. Tim Hardaway shot 7-of-11 from three in rhythm and Josh Richardson added 3-of-7. Otherwise, they only shot 43% from the field and turned the ball over 16 times uncharacteristically.
Luka Doncic is a penetration and passing force (47 AST%) that generates ample quality three-point looks his teammates only sparingly convert. The Mavs started 8-13 before responding 6-2 over their last eight. Doncic shot 2-of-4 against Jaylen Brown, 3-of-4 on Jayson Tatum and 1-of-5 with Marcus Smart covering him last season — 1.11 points per possession in a loss.
The Mavericks narrowly win the minutes Doncic plays by 0.9 points per 100 possessions and lose his time off by 6.7. Hardaway and Richardson are net negatives, and Porzingis’ absence takes away from their scoring. Individually, Doncic has improved defensively in 2021. The team as a whole has sunk on that end.
Only those three and Jalen Brunson could score for the Mavs on Monday, and their offensive efficiency ranks below the Pelicans’. New Orlean’s offensive pressure sparked the 24-point turnaround on Sunday. Defensive pressure and adjustments helped, but Tatum still generated enough offense to force overtime. Dorian Finney-Smith (0-for-3) found some success guarding Tatum as Dallas” other wings struggled last season.
Boston continues to avoid falling below .500 and catching Dallas on a back-to-back should help that trend continue. It won’t be easy against one of the best players in the league though, so expect another close game.
Boston 125, Dallas 117 (14-11, 10-13 ATS)