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Coming into Monday night’s game at the TD Garden, the Mavericks had lost three of four games, including a 22-point loss to the Raptors on Sunday. This should have been easy for the Celtics, right? Not so fast, as the C’s had lost two straight at home heading into Monday. Something had to give.
First, it was the Mavericks, as the Celtics built a nine-point lead by halftime. In the end, however, it was the Celtics that gave in, as Dirk Nowitzki’s 37 points helped lead the Mavs past the Celtics, 99-90.
It’s clear that Rasheed Wallace is no Kevin Garnett defensively, but no one really is. Either way, with KG out of the picture, team defense is becoming an afterthought. Since when did the Celtics turn into the 2009 Patriots, a team that consistently forked over leads in the second half? The Celtics did that Monday night, turning a nine-point lead into a nine-point loss, for a ridiculous 18-point swing.
‘Sheed did what he could though, scoring 11 points with three rebounds. He also went a typical 0-4 from beyond the arc. Wait, was that really what he could do? That’s it? 11 points, another 0-fer on threes, just three rebounds and no blocked shots?
Without a big effort from ‘Sheed, Kendrick Perkins (14 points, 12 rebounds) had all he could do containing both Nowitzki and Erick Dampier (11 points, 7 rebounds). The Mavs big men were clearly the agressors in this game, and the Celtics did little to stop them.
The regular big guns for the Celtics came out firing, with Paul Pierce leading the way with 24 points, and Ray Allen pitching in 21 points.
Matched up against Jason Kidd, Rajon Rondo held his own, scoring seven points with 12 assists and two steals. Kidd had himself a big game along with Dirk, as he finished with 13 points (3-3 from 3-pt land) and a game-high 17 assists.
Despite losing just 20 games all last year and 16 the year before, the Celtics took their 12th loss on Monday, and their third straight defeat at home. All that talk about 73 wins now seems ridiculous, as the Celts would have to go undefeated the rest of the way to even crack 70. Hell, this team will be lucky to get to 60.
The Celtics have Tuesday off and head to Detroit Wednesday to face the Pistons.