Last night's matchup between the defending NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks and my Boston Celtics, two of the best/better teams in the league, was not particularly good hoops to watch but I had to since Brent took me up on my ill-advised blog challenge. The Celtics were unable to score any points at all in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the game -- missing layups and open short jumpers galore -- although the Mavs apparently felt bad for the Celtics and only scored four points themselves over that time frame.
Dirk Nowitski had an off night, though he did score and got fouled on a drive to the bucket with five seconds remaining in a tie game to give the Mavs a three-point lead and ultimate victory over the Celtics, who had fought back from a couple of double-digit leads to tie it late on a Paul Pierce three-pointer. Pierce, who had a foot injury and missed the tiny preseason and the first three games of the regular season, still looked rusty and was not much of a factor in the game. Were it not for the steals and drives to the hoop of Rajon Rondo, the Celts would have never been in this game.
It was good to see former Celtic Delonte West have a home and play well. Say what you will about him, he's a team guy who plays hard and has a good basketball IQ. Shawn Marion was the difference in this game in my opinion and Rick Carlisle's ejection early in the second half seemed to give the Mavs a spark that ultimately gave them a two-digit lead. Carlisle had had enough of Kevin Garnett mugging Dirk on the defensive end. Garnett has not played all that well so far this season, even on defense, his calling card.
I like the Celtics' offseason acquisitions for their bench but the team will only go so far (barely above .500 in my opinion) if Rondo is the only one of their four stars to play well every night. Right now they are looking over the hill.
These two teams play each other once more this season. Hopefully the Celtics can at least even it up.