Pierce's latest 30-point outburst was key to Boston's victory.
In most cases, capturing a win holds far greater weight than playing pretty. It’s a mantra the Boston Celtics can attest to, following their 117-115 double-overtime win against the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night.
With a 7-19 (.269) record against the Mavericks since the 1998-99 season—the team’s worst mark against any opponent in the past 15 years—the Celtics knew they were in for a dogfight.
However, Wednesday’s effort came off more like that of a drawn out, sluggish sumo fight.
Hardly the effort Boston head coach Doc Rivers expected from his team during their last home game before a three-game road trip.
Regardless, the team has now put together their first winning streak in seven games. With a win on Friday against the Houston Rockets, the Celtics can match their season-high streak of three games.
Here are the takeaways from Wednesday night’s affair.
Jeff Green is Back
If there was any doubt to the matter, let Wednesday night’s performance put a rest to that.
Green put together a nice box score of 15 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes on the night. He also led the team with a plus-minus of plus-six. Not to mention, he also threw down that huge two-handed alley-oop that had the whole stadium saying, “Mama, there goes that man!”
Which all begs the question: Why was Green only utilized for 27 minutes in a game that spanned a total of 58 minutes?
The 26-year-old has been on a tear as of late, averaging 15.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in his last six appearances—including scoring 15-plus points in five of them. Furthermore, he has shot 50.0 percent from both the floor and from three-point range during that span.
Playing Green more seems like an obvious no-brainer.
Brick, Brick City
Boston ranks No. 21 in the league in three-point shooting this season, connecting on only 34.1 percent of their attempts.
Lately, that number has been even worse.
After going 6-of-22 from range against Dallas, the Celtics are now 20-of-75 (26.6 percent) from beyond the arc in their last four games—the worst percentage in the league during that span.
Jason Terry has been the poster child of the team’s recent three-point slump.
After shooting 42.9 percent from the spot in November, Terry has only connected on 6-of-23 (26.1 percent) attempts in the last four games. That includes an atrocious 1-of-6 effort against his former team on Wednesday.
For a team that gets a lot of looks, Boston needs to start capitalizing on them soon. Especially if they hope to break away from the .500 mark and contest for a high seed come postseason.
What was the biggest takeaway from the game?
Painting a Bad Picture
The biggest precursor to the evaporation of the Celtics 14-point lead? Points in the paint.
Boston entered Wednesday night’s game allowing opponents an average of 43.0 points in the paint per game. It’s a mark that had the team ranked No. 24 in the league.
The Mavericks not only took advantage of that weakness on Wednesday, but they downright exploited it. Dallas poured on 60 points in the key, including 16 in the fourth quarter.
Last season, the Celtics ranked No. 9 in the league, only allowing opponents 39.6 points in the paint.
Whatever that key to success was, they better rediscover it in time for their Friday night matchup with the Rockets who rank No. 6 in the league with 44.8 points in the paint per game.
Also check out: Your Complete Weekly Preview of Everything Celtics
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