Mavericks 104, Celtics 94

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- The Boston Celtics still haven't recovered from their draining home defeat against the Miami Heat earlier this week and dropped their second consecutive road game, 104-94 to the Dallas Mavericks Friday night.
The Mavs never trailed as they bounced back from a double-digit home loss two nights earlier to the Brooklyn Nets. Dallas built a 30-19 lead in the first quarter against the sluggish Celtics and led by as many as 14 in the third quarter, buoyed by big games from Dirk Nowitzki (22 points), Brandan Wright (23 points) and Vince Carter (17 points).
A late spurt got Boston within 97-92, but the rally was thwarted when Mavs guard O.J. Mayo buried a 3-pointer for a 100-92 cushion with 1:21 remaining.
Boston (36-32), which has lost three in a row and five of seven with a game at Memphis Saturday night, had little going offensively outside of Kevin Garnett, who had 14 of his 16 points through the first three quarters, and Brandon Bass, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Veteran guard Jason Terry, in his first game back in Dallas since leaving the franchise he spent eight seasons with and won the 2011 championship, managed just six points off the bench on 2-of-8 shooting.
But Paul Pierce also had a quiet night with 16 points, just seven through three quarters, on 5-of-9 shooting attempts. Jordan Crawford scored five of his nine points on consecutive possessions for a quick spark to start the fourth quarter to make it 81-75, but Dallas ran its lead back to a dozen with five minutes to go.
The Celtics, 5-of-17 from beyond the 3-point arc, trailed 79-68 after three quarters with Garnett and Bass being the only Boston players having scored in double figures and combining for 30 points.
Dallas (33-36) used an 8-1 finishing kick to end the first half and head to the locker room with a 55-44 lead. Nowitzki, Wright and Carter combined for 38 of the Mavs' first-half points.
The Mavs led 30-21 after the first quarter on 52.2 percent shooting. The Celtics, having lost two in a row and four of six entering the game, came out sluggish, falling behind 11-4 and then 30-19 with less than a minute to go in the opening period and shot just 37.1 percent in the first half.
Shawn Marion recorded a double-double for Dallas with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Mayo finished with 10 points and nine assists.
Boston forward Jeff Green, who scored 43 points against Miami, had 10 against Dallas and has 23 in Boston's two road losses since losing to the Heat.
NOTES: Celtics guard Courtney Lee was helped off the floor late in the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury. ... Celtics guard Jason Terry played his first game back in Dallas since leaving the franchise last summer as a free agent after eight seasons. He wore his 2011 championship ring to the arena. He received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd upon checking in at the 3:57 mark of the first quarter. ... Mavs forward Shawn Marion started after missing eight consecutive games with a calf strain. ... Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki was injured for the first meeting in Boston, a double-overtime victory for the Celtics. In his previous 26 career games against Boston, Nowitzki has a 26.9 scoring average, his highest against any opponent. ... Three of the four active players among the top 20 on the NBA's all-time scoring list were in the starting lineups: No. 15 Kevin Garnett, No. 18 Dirk Nowitzki and No. 20 Paul Pierce. Kobe Bryant is No. 5.

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