By: Emily Musella
Celtics take on the Mavericks in epic shootout
The Boston Celtics travel to Dallas tonight to take on Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. The Boston squad is coming off a heartbreaking OT loss on Sunday against the New Orleans Pelicans. Meanwhile, the Mavs secured a W last night over the Memphis Grizzlies. Can the Celtics bounceback tonight or will the Mavericks defend their home court? You know what time it is, the breakdown shakedown!
Odds: DAL -1.5, BOS +1.5
Tip-off: February 23rd, 7:30 EST, American Airlines Center
The Celtics dropped an absolute heartbreaker Sunday afternoon to the Pelicans in OT ( 120-115). Despite the valiant efforts of Jayson Tatum (32 points) and Jaylen Brown (25 points), it was not enough to stop the 4th quarter and OT magic of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Tonight, the Celtics will look to once again break another .500 record as they sit at 15-15 on the season and are currently in 6th place, right behind the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference standings.
There is immense pressure on Head coach Brad Stevens and his Celtics squad to secure a W tonight against one of the best tandem scorers in the league, Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis is listed as QUESTIONABLE tonight though. I would expect Kemba Walker to have a lights out performance alongside the Jay’s and for Daniel Theis to step up. We have seen the emergence of Robert Williams III (Timelord) and I see Stevens giving him more court time tonight. Offensively, the Celtics have a pretty even matchup against the Mavs with both squads scoring over 110 points per game, and shooting over 35% from the 3pt range.
Defensively, the big target to defend will be Luka Doncic as he averages nearly 29 points per game and 9 assists per game. If Porzingis is unable to play at full strength, I would expect Dwight Powell and Josh Richardson to help Doncic put up points. Another name to watch out for is Tim Hardaway Jr, who racked up 29 points last night on the Grizzlies. I think it’s safe to say, the Celtics have their hands full tonight and will need to make some major stops against a full throttle Mavs offense.
The Mavs host the Celtics tonight on a back-to-back game where the Dallas team just beat the Grizzlies last night 102-92. Though the Mavs have won 5 of their last 6 games, they are still positioned in the 8th spot in the Western Conference standings.
Offensively, the Mavs have played exceptionally well with the heroic efforts of Luka Doncic and Co. Overall, the Dallas team is ranked 16th for total score, 13th in FG success, and 25th from the 3pt range. The potential blow to the offense is the QUESTIONABLE status and potential trade rumor about Kristaps Porzingis. We have seen the damage Porzingis and Doncic can do while on the court together. I think the X-factor in this game though outside of Doncic, will be Tim Hardaway Jr. On the season, Hardaway Jr. posts nearly 45% from the FG range and nearly 41% from the 3pt range.
Defensively, the Dallas squad will face the Jay’s duo, a hungry Kemba Walker, and the emerging Robert Williams III (Timelord). The Mavs have struggled on defense as they are 23rd in the league for points given, 21st against FG shots, and 21st against 3pt shots. If the Jay’s and Kemba catch fire early on, it could be a very long night for the Mavs defense to keep up. The X-factor for the Mavs to watch out for will be Robert Williams III as he continues to find himself in the right place at the right time for his Celtics squad.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
Both these teams have electric playmakers that NBA fans should be excited for tonight. With stars on the Celtics like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, to Dallas elite players like Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. we are in for a good game tonight!
My first best bet is for the total to go OVER 224.5 points tonight. Both squads know how to rack up points and I think we see the Jay’s on the Celtics and Doncic and Hardaway Jr. on the Mavericks go off tonight with points.
My second best bet is for Kemba Walker to hit OVER 18.5 points tonight. Kemba averages 17 points per game, but will need a big performance tonight to help out his struggling Celtics team. Also, the last time Kemba faced the Mavs, he dropped 32 points on them (cue mic drop).