How it happened: It’s debatable how much credit the Dallas defense should get for Boston’s horrible offensive performance, but the Celtics had no chance to keep up with the Mavs while shooting so poorly.
The Celtics ended up shooting 35.9 percent from the floor, but that ugly number got inflated by garbage time. Boston shot 29.9 percent in the first three quarters.
The Mavs weren’t as efficient offensively as they have been recently, but they scored enough to run away from an Eastern Conference also-ran.
Seven Mavs scored in double figures, led by Dirk Nowitzki, who had 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting to snap a streak of six straight games in which he made at least half of his field goal attempts. Jose Calderon added 18 points and five assists. Shawn Marion (11 points, 10 rebounds) had his seventh double-double of the season.
What it means: The Mavs have their first five-game winning streak since February 2012. After six wins in seven games, the Mavs are 10 games over .500 for the first time since their 2010-11 championship season. At 31-21, Dallas moved ahead of the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference standings, pulling even with the Phoenix Suns for sixth place. The Celtics fell to 18-34.
Play of the game: Devin Harris hooked up with Brandan Wright for a couple of highlight-reel buckets, the sweetest of which happened in the last minute of the third quarter. After coming off a high pick-and-pop, Harris was driving down the right side of the lane when he spotted Wright cutting on the opposite baseline and tossed up an underhanded lob pass over Celtics power forward Kris Humphries’ outstretched arm. Wright caught the pass high over the rim with two hands and threw it down hard to stretch the Mavs’ lead to 16.
Stat of the night: Dallas is 14-6 against the East this season.