Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
And suddenly the stage was set for the Celtics to complete an improbable comeback, for them to overcome a sordid 1 for 15 start, for them to dig out of a 17-point hole, for them to win one more game against a more powerful team.
In overtime, though, the Celtics stalled and the Mavericks could not miss. Dallas made all four of its 3-point attempts and all six of its free throws, as it took a 118-113 victory and snapped the Celtics’ three-game winning streak.
“That overtime,” Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas said as he stood in a near-empty locker room long after the game. “You can’t give up 20 points in five minutes.”
The Mavericks led 103-102 with less than two minutes left in the game when they blitzed the Celtics with a barrage of 3-pointers. Deron Williams hit one that was answered by Marcus Smart at the other end. Then Williams added another long ball, and after a missed 3-pointer by Crowder, Dirk Nowitzki swished another 3 from the left corner, making it 112-105 with 35.4 seconds left.
The Celtics entered last night’s game against Dallas with the 3rd best 3-point defense (32%) in the league. But Dallas – a mediocre 3-point shooting team (20th) – didn’t give a damn.
The Mavs made 16 out of 34 triples, good for a ridiculous 47% (15% better than their season average).
Stevens credited the Mavs with quality ball movement. If only they had someone who could lock down Dirk Nowitzki:
Afterward, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said that Nowitzki had struggled against Celtics forward Amir Johnson in the first half, when he scored just 6 points. But Johnson played only two minutes after halftime, when Nowitzki went off for 25 of his 31 points.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens instead called on either Jared Sullinger or Olynyk in Boston’s otherwise guard-heavy lineups. Olynyk played well; he made 5 of 6 3-pointers and the Celtics outscored the Mavericks by 27 points when he was on the court.
It’s hard for me to second guess Stevens when a) I went to bed at halftime and b) Kelly Olynyk was a ridiculous +27. But am I crazy to think he couldn’t have used Amir Johnson for a few minutes late in this game?
On Page 2, Jae Crowder pokes fun at Dirk.
It didn’t help when the Celtics attempted to impede the movement of Dirk Nowitzki, who was 12-for-13 from the line.
“Can’t play too close to him,” said the former Maverick Crowder about his onetime teammate. “He flops and flails a lot, and knows how to get the calls. But you have to play physical with him and not let him get to his spots. You have to make it tough for him. He’s a hell of a scorer and he showed it tonight.”
Even at age 37, Dirk is still getting it done. He’s flopping and flailing his way to nearly 18 ppg on 40% shooting from 3.
And finally, the Warriors SMOKED the Cavs.
The silky-skilled 27-year-old point guard had reportedly angered certain Cavaliers players in the build-up by joking that he hoped the locker room “still smells a little bit like champagne.”
But any plans the Cavaliers had to make Curry regret his choice of words were torn up within a few minutes of the tip-off. The Warriors raced into an early lead and never looked back.
By the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers trailed by a mammoth 43 points — the largest deficit James has faced at any point in his 1,127-game career.
The 34-point loss was the heaviest margin of defeat James has suffered in a home defeat, according to ESPN Statistics.
LeBron reportedly called his agent after the game and asked how much cap-space the Spurs have next year.
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