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All tied up heading to the fourth

2/4/2011

BOSTON -- Nothing will be settled until the fourth quarter. The Mavericks and Celtics are battling back and forth. The Mavs have, however, shown again that they can play a physical brand of ball against the East's best team and the league's top defense.

Heading into the final 12 minutes, it's 77-77.

Both teams had runs that threatened to open things up, but didn't. Dirk Nowitzki scored seven consecutive points just as the Celtics got to within one. He had 14 in the quarter and 22 for the game. But, just as the Mavs had a 63-55 lead, Boston stormed back with a 20-6 run to go up by six, 75-69. Ray Allen matched Nowitzki with 14 in the quarter and has 21 in the game.

But, Dallas then answered to it at 75-75.

Both teams continue to score at highly efficient rates, 56.1 percent for the Celtics and 50.0 percent for the Mavs.

Whichever defense shows up in the fourth quarter will win this game. In Dallas in November, the Mavs took care of business late.