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Celtics' 'Awesome' Defense Praised on Twitter as Luka Dončić, Mavs Struggle in Loss

Doric SamJanuary 6, 2023

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots against Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AP Photo/LM Otero

The Boston Celtics were coming off one of their worst defensive performances in team history entering Thursday's game against the Dallas Mavericks, who were riding a seven-game winning streak.

However, Boston put forth a suffocating defensive effort to cruise to a 124-95 win over Dallas at American Airlines Center. The Celtics allowed 150 points in Tuesday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but Thursday's showing was reminiscent of the team that advanced to the NBA Finals last year.

Mavericks star point guard and NBA leading scorer Luka Dončić was held to just 23 points on 7-of-23 shooting, ending his streak of six straight 30-point games. The MVP candidate missed all six of his three-pointers and looked uncomfortable all game as Boston's switching defense stifled him.

The Celtics had allowed at least 100 points in each of their previous seven contests. Tuesday's loss to the Thunder proved to be a wake-up call, and it motivated Thursday's stellar performance.

NBA Twitter loved what it saw from Boston's defense in the victory:

Matt John @MattJohnNBA

Celtics defense has been awesome tonight. It helps that Luka looks hurt/sick, but when they clamp down on their opponents, they are very difficult to score on.

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Best defense Celtics have played in a while.

Josh Mazur @MazurFocus

In a podcast interview earlier this week Celtics forward Grant Williams said he thought they played good defense on Luka the last time they met but Luka's shot just kept falling. Doncic is currently shooting 7-20 and 0-5 from 3.

Rob Greene @RobGreeneNBA

This great block from Derrick White is an incredible display of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Celtics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Celtics</a> defense tonight. <a href="https://t.co/Xbqd4cSmul">pic.twitter.com/Xbqd4cSmul</a>

John Karalis 🇬🇷 🇺🇦 @John_Karalis

The Celtics are playing their best basketball in a while, but the Mavs are missing everything, good defense or not.

Jason Shapiro @jshapiro12

When the Celtics play this level of defense they are a scary team

Kang Descendant @rambo__12

Celtics remembered how to play defense

BJ Shea @BJSHEA33

When the Celtics rebound, play defense, and move the ball 😍

ariel @aritalkstv

when the Celtics play defense and move the ball &gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;

Joshua☘️ @JoshuaForte11

Celtics playing some elite defense right now

Joel Moran @joelvmoran

Switching on defense is the perfect answer for a iso heavy offense and that's why the Mavs matchup horribly with the Celtics

Colin @CM1661

Celtics defense looks totally different tonight. The pride is back.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum notched a triple-double with game-highs of 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the way. While he proved himself to also be firmly entrenched in the MVP conversation, the bigger statement was made by Boston's defense.

The Celtics are on a mission to return to the NBA Finals and win the championship that eluded them last year. To do that, they will need to defend at a high level consistently to make it through a competitive Eastern Conference.

Boston (27-12) will look to continue its strong play on both ends of the floor when the team continues its road trip on Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs (12-26).