Celtics-Mavs takeaways: The Jays bounce back with dominant performances originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Three Key Storylines
The C's took on the Mavs at American Airlines Center less than 24 hours after starting their road trip with a win over the Houston Rockets. Dallas, meanwhile, hosted Boston after four days of rest.
Tired legs seemed to be a factor in the first quarter with the Celtics shooting just 8-for-22 from the floor and 1-for-10 on 3-pointers. However, they snapped out of their funk with a 41-point second quarter in which they shot 9-for-16 from beyond the arc.
From there, the C's took control with help from their two superstars Jayson Tatum (38 points) and Jaylen Brown (35 points). Jrue Holiday added 17 points on 5-of-12 shooting from deep in Boston's 119-110 victory.
The Celtics are now 6-2 on the second night of back-to-backs this season and 16-5 under head coach Joe Mazzulla. They have six more back-to-backs on the schedule.
Boston (34-10) will enjoy a couple of days off before visiting the Miami Heat (24-19) on Thursday night. Before we look ahead, here are three takeaways from Monday's game.
Jayson Tatum snaps out of slump
Tatum entered Monday's action with lackluster offensive numbers by his standards over his last four games. In that span, he was just 29-for-81 (35.8 percent) from the floor and a putrid 6-for-28 (21.4 percent) from 3-point range.
From the get-go, it was clear Tatum was determined to snap out of his cold stretch. He notched a season-high 13 first-quarter points and was notably aggressive, getting to the line often and drilling all five of his free throws in the frame.
The four-time All-Star finished the first half with 18 points and topped it off with this emphatic block on former C's teammate Grant Williams at the halftime buzzer:
Tatum didn't miss a beat in the second half as he went on to total a game-high 38 points on 11-of-21 shooting. He was outstanding in every facet of the game as he added 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks to his stat sheet.
This marked Tatum's first 30-point performance since Jan. 10.
Jaylen Brown outduels Luka Doncic
Make no mistake, Doncic was a problem for the C's in this game. The four-time All-Star put up a ridiculous stat line of 33 points, 18 rebounds, and 13 assists.
Those numbers don't tell the whole story, though. In fact, Brown was the better player on both ends of the floor. The Celtics star topped Doncic with 35 points and was far more efficient, shooting 13-of-22 from the floor to Doncic's 12-of-30.
While Doncic dwarfed Brown in the rebounds (three) and assists (four) categories, Brown made far more of an impact defensively and put Doncic on the wrong sideline of multiple highlight reels. He dropped the Slovenian superstar with a filthy crossover and got him again on the following possession.
When the Mavs made a run in the fourth quarter, it was Brown stepping up to propel Boston to victory. He tallied 10 fourth-quarter points to close out the hard-fought win.
Monday's game marked the third time this month that both Tatum and Brown scored 30 or more points. They combined for 73 points and, perhaps most importantly, zero turnovers.
Quiet night for Grant Williams
Quiet is the last word anyone, especially former Celtics teammates, would use to describe Grant Williams. In his first game against the C's, however, he was hardly noticeable.
Williams, who was traded to Dallas last summer after four years in Boston, had just two points on 1-of-5 shooting (0-for-4 from 3) and was a non-factor defensively in his 18 minutes. His most notable highlights were Tatum swatting his half-court heave into the stands before the half and his borderline flagrant foul on Brown.
It was all love after the game though as Williams took a moment to share an embrace with his ex-teammates.
Lots of love for Grant 💚 pic.twitter.com/CwuGufkgXb
Williams will have an opportunity to exact revenge on the C's when these two teams face off at TD Garden on March 1.