Coming into Thursday’s game against the visiting Boston Celtics, the Dallas Mavericks(22-17) had won seven straight and were on a roll. However, six of the seven teams they played were below .500, so the Celtics(27-12), who have the best record in the NBA, was going to be a test for the Mavericks, and a test Dallas would fail.
Boston led by as many as 30 and dominated and routed the Celtics 124-95.
Luka Doncic, who was recently named Western Conference Player of the Month, led the Mavs with 23 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists, but his shot was off(7/23 FG), and he appeared under the weather.
After the game, Mavs head coach Jason Kidd was asked about Doncic’s health.
“He looked like himself out there,” Kidd said. “He just missed some shots. He had some good looks. They just didn’t go down. I don’t know about his health. I know he did leave at one point, but I don’t know what the cause of that was.”
The Mavericks did not play well defensively, as Boston had two 30-plus point quarters. In addition, they struggled from the field as they shot 38% from the floor. Spencer Dinwiddie, who had 18 points and five assists, said poor defense and shooting cost the Mavericks.
“I mean, obviously, they put up 124 points, which is never good, and the lack of defense,” Dinwiddie said. “The lack of shooting is one thing. It can ebb and flow sometimes. Obviously, the Celtics are one of the best teams in the league at the moment, record-wise, and they were in the Finals last year. They deserve a lot of credit, but we have to bring it on the defensive end and give ourselves a chance to win.”
Kidd gave all the credit to the Celtics, including Jayson Tatum, who had his second career triple-double with 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists.
“We just lost to the best team in the league,” Kidd said. “Look and see how they played and how the ball was shared. They executed their game plan. They did a lot of things. They got to the Finals last year [and] have a new coach. Their ability if things aren’t going well, their two stars aren’t going well in the first half [and] that’s a team game. I understand Jayson [Tatum] has a triple-double, which is pretty cool. Got his average, got 13 points there in the fourth quarter. I thought we did a really good job of keeping those guys [in check] and trying to show them multiple bodies, but they were unselfish tonight, and their teammates knocked down a lot of threes for them.”
Dallas continues to be shorthanded; they again were missing Dorian Finney-Smith(Adductor), Maxi Kleber(Hamstring), and Josh Green(Elbow), but according to Dinwiddie, that’s no excuse when you have Doncic.
“We’ve got to do our job,” Dinwiddie said. “We can’t just be making excuses. Anytime you’ve got the best player in the world on the floor, you’ve got a chance to win. 2 through 10 that night [have] just got to do their job.”
Dallas has another good team coming to their building in the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, so they must flush this one away and move forward.