BOSTON –Kemba Walker opened up a close game by burying a pair of 3-pointers and the Boston Celtics used those two crucial baskets to go on and beat the Dallas Mavericks, 116-106, Monday night at TD Garden.
The loss was the first on the road this season for the Mavs against four wins and dropped their overall record to 6-4. The Mavs will complete this three-game road trip Thursday in New York when they face the Knicks before returning home to host the world champion Toronto Raptors on Saturday.
Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 34 points, six rebounds and nine assists, Maxi Kleber had 15 points and eight rebounds, Jalen Brunson finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, and Dwight Powell collected 10 points and five boards. However, Kristaps Porzingis was in fol trouble most of the game and finished with just four points and five rebounds in 20 minutes and was only 1-of-11 from the field.
“Porzingis had a tough night,” coach Rick Carlisle sad. “We’re just going to flush it and move on.”
Boston was clinging to a two-point lead when Walker nailed two three-pointers to pad the Celtics’ cushion to 101-94. Then, after Flower Mound High School product Marcus Smart buried a 3-pointer with 2:42 remaining in the game, that padded Boston’s lead to 107-95.
“This was a very tough physical game, very physical from the very beginning, more physical than we’ve really seen with the exception of maybe the Lakers’ game,” Carlisle said. “They had us on our heels early, I thought we responded extremely well, stuck together, adjusted kept attacking, kept ourselves right there at halftime.
They made a run to start the third quarter, we had to re-group and respond again and we did, and it just got way from us in the last six minutes.”
The Celtics led for the majority of this game, but the Mavs always managed to remain within striking distance. Boston led 25-21 after the first quarter, the game was tied at 54-all at the half, and the Celtics toted an 84-79 lead into the fourth quarter.
A dunk by Powell and a bucket by Tim Hardaway Jr. gave the Mavs an 88-86 lead with 7:20 left in the game. But too much Walker down the stretch did in the Mavs.
Forward Kristaps Porzingis was back in the lineup for the Mavs after sitting out Saturday’s game in Memphis with an injury/recovery of his left knee. But Porzingis didn’t get to play but 20 minutes as he was in foul trouble all night and had to go to the bench with 9:04 left in the game with his fifth foul.
Porzingis wound up with just four points and five rebounds on 1-f-11 shooting.
Still, the Mavs stuck around and tied the game at 86 when Brunson fed Powell for a dunk. But the final few frantic mintes belonged to the Celtics, who improved to an NBA-best record of 8-1.