Celtics edge turnover-prone Mavs in double OT

Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- It's safe to say they won't be sending the game tape from Wednesday night's Celtics-Mavericks game to the Hall of Fame in nearby Springfield.
Boston, blowing a 14-point, third-quarter lead, had to go two overtimes to survive a home scare against a Dallas team still trying to stay afloat without injured star Dirk Nowitzki. The Celtics won 117-115.
The Mavericks, playing in front of owner Mark Cuban, turned the ball over 28 times in 58 minutes, including three times in the second OT.
But as they say, a win's a win.
"This is a good win, especially with a huge (three-game) road trip coming up," Boston forward Paul Pierce said after scoring eight of his team-season-high 34 points in the second overtime. "These type of long games, these types of marathons games can be really draining on you.
"I like the way we pulled through."
For most of the second overtime, it looked as if Pierce's 3-pointer 32 seconds in might hold up. The Mavericks closed within one on their next possession, and then neither team could score for 3 1/2 minutes.
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who played 52 1/2 minutes, hit a drive down the lane with 35.5 seconds left, and Pierce went 5-for-6 from the line to seal the victory.
Boston, 8-4 at home, won its fourth straight game at TD Garden. The Celtics also ended a four-game losing streak in the series with Dallas.
"I wish we could keep playing until we win," said Dallas guard O.J. Mayo, who had 24 points and six rebounds but also was guilty of nine turnovers in almost 52 minutes. "We had 28 turnovers, so that says a lot right there. I take most of the fault for it because I had nine."
The Celtics, registering a season high for points, had the last shot both at the end of regulation and then the first overtime, but failed to score. It appeared Pierce was fouled by Dahntay Jones at the end of the first OT, but no call was made.
Dallas, which led only once, 95-94 with 1:47 left in regulation, almost rallied again in the second overtime. After Pierce missed the second of two free throws with 19.3 seconds left, leaving the Celtics' lead at four, Vince Carter nailed a twisting 3-pointer with 9.3 to go.
After a timeout, the Mavs fouled Pierce again, and this time he hit both free throws. Dallas called timeout, and Boston fouled intentionally with 5.8 seconds left. Darren Collison (20 points, six assists, five rebounds off the bench) made both foul shots. The Mavs fouled Pierce again with 5.3 seconds left, and he again made two.
Dallas, out of timeouts, was then guilty of its 28th turnover, Collison throwing the ball away. Boston's Courtney Lee added two free throws, making Mayo's buzzer-beating 3-pointer meaningless.
The Celtics are 3-1 in overtime games this season, while the Mavericks fell to 0-3. It was Boston's first double-OT, regular-season win since April 2009.
Rondo just missed his second triple double in a three-game span, registering 16 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds. Kevin Garnett (40 minutes) scored 16 points for Boston, and Jeff Green added 15 off the bench.
Collison turned the ball over seven times, combining with Mayo for more turnovers (16) than the entire Celtics team had (13).
Shawn Marion had 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Mavs.
"We were right there," Marion said. "We had turnovers throughout the game that killed us. We can't beat anyone with that many turnovers."
Jason Terry, playing his first game against the team he left after eight years to sign with Boston, shot just 3-for-10 from the floor, 1-for-6 from 3-point range. He wound up with 10 points in almost 48 minutes. He did start the first overtime with an old-fashioned three-point play.
NOTES: The Mavs played without a big man for most of the stretch run, essentially going with five guards/swingmen. ... Long-time Celtics trainer Eddie Lacerte received the NBA Athletic Trainer of the Year Award at halftime, his second such honor. ... Before the opening tip, Terry went over to the Dallas bench and hugged coach Rick Carlisle. Terry downplayed the first game against his old team, saying before the game, "It's going to be more special when we go to Dallas, because then you've got the fans involved. I know they'll be watching tonight, but it's a lot different when you're on the court and you're in that arena again. So, tonight's going to be good. I'll see everybody, say 'What's up?' but again, March 22, it's going to be special." ... Marion returned to the Dallas lineup after missing two games with a groin injury. "I'm good to go," Marion said before the game. ... Dallas center Chris Kaman, playing on an injured left ankle, scored 12 points. ... Boston's Leandro Barbosa, still fighting sickness, didn't play. ... The Celtics open their road trip in Houston on Friday night before they visit San Antonio and Chicago. The Mavericks play at Toronto on Friday and at Minnesota on Saturday.

What to Read Next