Wednesday, January 11, 2012
W2W4: Intriguing point-guard battle
By Jeff Caplan
While the Dallas Mavericks are on their second night of a back-to-back, the Boston Celtics will be the most rested team Dallas will face this season. Boston hasn't played since they lost at home to Indiana on Friday night. It’s the second-longest stretch of consecutive days without a game on Boston’s schedule this season. Only it's five-day All-Star break will be longer.
Jason Terry said it doesn't matter. Games against the Celtics are always special.
"These games are tough. These are the ones you put on your schedule," Terry said. "It’s like Miami, it’s like the Lakers, these are big games. This is what you like as a professional."
For the Mavs, this is the second game of four in five nights. They look to move to 3-2 on the second night of back-to-backs before heading into another set at home against Milwaukee (Friday) and Sacramento (Saturday).
Records: Mavs (5-5); Celtics (4-4)
When: 7 p.m.
Where: TD Garden
TV: ESPN, FSSW
Radio: 103.3 FM ESPN; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: As noted, Boston hasn't played in four nights and will be itching to get back on the floor after a first home loss on Friday and take advantage of a team that played the night before. The Mavs' key players, however, didn't have to log heavy minutes thanks to a strong start and a blowout third quarter. Can Dallas stick close early and then settle into a defensive stance and an offensive flow that could allow them to steal a victory in Beantown in consecutive seasons? Defense will likely be the determining factor in this one. The Mavs have held their last seven opponents to fewer than 100 points and five in the 80s, while allowing 42.5 percent shooting. The Celtics have won four of their last five games while allowing 84.0 points per game.
Key matchup: Rajon Rondo vs. Delonte West This should be an exciting matchup between former teammates. Rondo is off to another mesmerizing start averaging a double-double with a career-best 14.8 points and a league-best 10.5 assists. West has been called the team's most consistent defender in the early going by coach Rick Carlisle and he will be juiced to face his former team. The feisty West had five steals Tuesday night at Detroit to give him 18 in 10 games to rank fifth in the league.
Injuries: Mavs - G Jason Kidd (lower back) is out. Celtics - None.